We Need Love & Kindness
Arthur C. Brooks shared his advice at a recent commencement address concerning how to help make America better– starting today. He suggested that in order to steer away from the contempt that seems to be defining our current political climate, we need to strive to heal with love and kindness.
His remarks reminded me of the contrasting images in Emma Lazarus’ famous poem which was written to honor the erection of the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor. Her poem also helps remind us of why our country is and should be different from others. Ms. Lazarus begins her poem with a description of a giant colossus standing astride a great land. Showing his conquering limbs in order to display utmost menace to all who dare to challenge. Lazarus contrasts this towering, frightful image of strength and power with a greater image: a second image of determined strength and power. An image of a woman holding a beacon of light, waiting to gather in all who need her protection and assistance. This is the image that will define our country, our America.
Mr. Brooks dares to agree with this idea of America. The idea that love and kindness will conquer all. That strength comes, not through dismissing, but through including. For if we all reach out in love to those around us and they in turn do the same, won’t that power supersede and triumph over all hate as it attempts to gather or grow?
Let us pursue that power, that strength. The power of love and kindness. Let us walk out our doors and say something nice to a passerby. Let us bring a meal to an ailing neighbor. Let us listen to another’s honest opinion. Let us share what we have with someone who has less. Let us give each citizen or newcomer the opportunity to succeed. Let us try to understand an enemy. Let us discuss where we differ and find common ground where we agree. Let us then together reach out in love to another and another and another until we have all gathered into an army of love. A loving army inherently stronger than any other attempt to conquer.