I haven’t really written a whole lot lately, but there’s something that I’ve been reflecting on these last couple of days that I thought I would share. It’s about the recent election and the social aftermath that ensued. If you’re sick of that whole conversation, here’s your cue to skip this. I get it, and I won’t be offended. But if you want to read on, here’s what I have to say:
I’m seeing a lot of people severing ties with one another lately. A lot of hard-edged words and sentiments are being flung around in social media, in the news, and even in face-to-face conversations. I’m not here to talk about my opinions on who won and who didn’t win. What I do know for certain is the president shouldn’t get to decide who we are and how we relate with those around us. The government doesn’t have sovereignty over our actions, our words, our principles, our attitudes, and our relationships. Yes, freedom of expression is a right; we are all entitled to express ourselves. But our rights come with responsibilities as well – responsibilities that are just as inalienable as the rights we feel entitled to exercise. Responsibilities such as setting a good example for our youth; building a home that we can share today and pass on tomorrow; increasing in knowledge and keeping a clear conscience; reaching out to each other in dialogue that actually results in understanding. These responsibilities are not just for a few people, they are for all people. It’s easy to speak carelessly and call it “freedom of expression” – it’s much more challenging to temper our words and actions with civility, compassion, and a desire to understand as well as to be understood. It’s our virtues, not our privileges, that set us apart as the human race. It’s also in the practice of these virtues that we really find our greatness – not in the house of representatives, not in the senate, and not in the president, whoever he (or, maybe one day, she) may be.