Is the Opposite of War Peace?

If you are American, or at the very least a citizen of the world who is aware of things going on in other countries (often something Americans themselves falter at) you would be aware that November 8th, election day, is swiftly approaching.

It’s entirely possible that election season has been more volatile than it is in the present, but being that I’m now in my mid 20’s, I feel as though I’m hyper aware of political grievances. I think most would agree that this election is anxiety inducing at its least, and utterly horrifying at its most. I think the majority would tend towards the latter.

Obviously, as a millennial, my cellphone is my additional technological limb. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the political hostility that has been slowly erupting on social media over the past year. It seems like it’s climbing to its peak over the last few weeks, and with that I want to explore a question: once we do reach the peak, where do we go from there to climb back down?

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I’ve always found politics interesting for a variety of reasons. Lately, it’s piqued my interest for one in particular: what motivations shape your values, and how is it possible for them to be completely solid and founded to you, yet utterly nonsensical to another perfectly sane, intelligent person?

Of course, it’s understandable to become infuriated at the thought of someone opposing something you consider a basic human right and part as your identity as a self-aware human being. For example, I’m not shy about the fact that I am firmly pro-choice and support the funding of Planned Parenthood. To me this is completely non-negotiable. You will not change my mind about it. But just as I believe with all of my moral compulsion that this is what I stand for unequivocally, someone else has their completely sane and rational reasons why they are undeniably fixed in standing against my beliefs. I have friends who I’m quite fond of and respect quite wholly who do not share these values with me. This is not a matter of intelligent vs. unintelligent. So what is it a matter of?

Our emotional relationship with the world is arguably one of the single most defining traits of our human experience. We have morals as humans, and we have consciousness. As sentient beings, we are set apart from other animals, and ultimately for the same reason, set apart from each other.

Emotions are the colors in which our world is painted. The way your chest swells at a gorgeous sunset, and on the contrary, the way it caves in at the crippling loss of a loved one, the way it feels like a wave of boiling water rushes through your veins the moment you see the person you are longing for, and the balloon pop of joy in your heart when you realize your love is in fact requited are just a few of the many impassioned experiences that contribute to our Technicolor consciousness. This is what makes us human, and behind every decision we make, every belief we bestow our faith in, is an emotion that is unique and paramount to us personally. And so it seems, there are times in which we share these sentiments with our fellow human beings. Just as contrarily, there are times in which we categorically do not.

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Is the opposite of war peace? Is the solution to a view you do not share or understand to not only shun it, but berate its advocate? Peace is lovely, and most of our lives would be very lacking without it, but I think the opposite we are looking for is compassion. Understanding. Empathy. These are what connect us to one another, and when tensions are high and we are at odds, they can bring us back together and bridge the divide that infects every single one of us.

Right now, we are all standing at the peak. Looking down at the world below you of human brothers and sisters, what do you want to be?

“Correct”, or compassionate?

I encourage you to join me in leaning towards the latter.

Tenderly,
Jeanine

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9 thoughts on “Is the Opposite of War Peace?

  1. This was a very thoughtful post Jeanine. I was just talking today about how ugly the political debate has become. Despite Michelle Obama’s call to always take the high road, many Hillary supporters have not gotten the message and are often just as bad the hateful Trump supporters we see.

    The question becomes how do we face someone else’s lack of compassion or what we perceive as a lack of compassion? A colleague and friend of mine is lesbian and married. When you have people supporting a party that wishes to take away of right you have fought long and hard for, how do you show compassion to people who have none for you? Where many deny you the right as an equal individual in society? And as a woman, when you have people who support someone who so casually describes sexual assault as a legitimate thing to do to women how do you have compassion for those people? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t, but just that I understand at least some people’s anger. For me it’s immigration and climate change. Both very personal to me, both as an immigrant myself to this country, and with my father as an immigrant to Canada, the lack of compassion to those who are in need of our help and just want to make a better life is hard for me to bear. I have been trying to understand more about where Trump voters are coming from and I have gained I think a lot more compassion to what many of the go through, but at the same time they are misinformed. They are victims of fear from those in political power. They are swallowing empty promises. That being said Hillary has done nothing, and not addressed a good portion of this country that is looking for hope. She has not been the embodiment of compassion that we need from leadership. This is why I supported Bernie Sanders. I just wrote about empathy in leadership and how important it is. What we are seeing is people turning into a reflection of the type of leadership we are getting and we need to reverse course or things are never going to get better.

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    • I’m really quite on board with everything you’ve brought up here. Maybe something I didn’t convey so strongly in this post is how incredibly DIFFICULT it is to have compassion for people who’s views threaten to impede on your personal liberties. Just as I feel so much anger erupting in me when people’s attitudes cavalier about sexual assault and their assertion they have a say in other women’s reproductive rights, there’s someone else who feels that same anger towards immigration, LGTBQ rights, and just the overall well-being of our planet (also things I care about considerably.) I think most of us can agree that neither candidate was ideal. I really hate the idea of “lesser evilism” in voting for a president, it troubles me deeply that it comes to this, because I feel like that ideology is flawed. I believe this desire to uphold compassion comes from the fact that most of my immediate and extended family has very different political views than I do. As much as their views hurt and anger me, I still love my family and I understand their (misguided, in my opinion) reasons they have for their political beliefs. (Most) people are coming at their political beliefs in what they feel would do the world more “good” and while I understand that’s entirely subjective, I think that’s why I try my best to be tolerant that other people have different views than my own. The hostility in general is very upsetting to me, this is a country where people should feel, vote, and interact with their government how they please, and it’s become so tumultuous. I’m very, very anxious to see what happens tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too Jeanine. Let’s hope the young people get out and vote so that people with the least amount of life left to live aren’t making all the decisions for the rest of us. Apathy isn’t the answer to our problems regardless of one’s views. I think the worst thing we can do is think there is nothing we can do!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post. Reminds me of a quote from John Wesley:

    “October 6, 1774
    I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
    1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
    2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
    3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

    Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you that this election is scary and the whole process has been quite mind numbing to be honest. This is why we as Americans need to stay well-informed and not listen to just what the media wants us to hear.

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  4. Hi Jeanine,
    I respect your opinions and wish my adult daughters shared them. Apathy is bad, but I can’t seem to convince them. Your attitude, the antithesis, is refreshing.
    I met you in the Community Pool where you indicated you would like help getting your posts seen by more people. I help bloggers at my site. For example, I recently explained how to get 842 page views to your blog in less than one day http://www.mostlyblogging.com/get-842-page-views-to-your-blog/
    I also hold 12 networking events each month where you could meet new readers.
    Janice

    Like

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