Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Waging Peace: Proposition 8

We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate --- thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising. - Maya Angelou

This morning I've been doing some blog-surfing and have been reading some disturbing things.

It seems the afterglow of unity may be wearing off.

Since Election Day, there have been demonstrations here locally in response to the passing of Proposition 8. That's a good thing. That's educational. That is providing an opportunity for the public to hear some of the facts and considerations they may not have heard during the height of the campaign.

There has also been violence and the vandalism of Mormon temples in various cities in California. There has been a lot of anger and disparaging remarks made in the blog world about those who voted for the proposition.

It's hard to imagine how people who had been supporting the idea of unity among all Americans could behave this way because the unity might be marred by those who believe differently.

Maybe a critical point is to understand that many of the people who voted for it are ignorant (in the dictionary definition of that word - not a substitute for "stupid") of all the facts. Perhaps they are at a different level of evolution. They are still responding from fear.

How is hating those people going to dissolve the hate they expressed by supporting the "othering" of an entire segment of the population?

I'm only asking that people seriously consider this. It's easy to sit down and write vitriol. I've done it a few times, too. It's easy to try to "get even" with those whose thinking we find repugnant. It's easy to demonize an entire group of people, such as the Mormons, because that makes them different than us. It makes them not one of us. It turns them into a target for discrimination.

But that's the low road. Responding to hate with hate is equally repugnant. And it compounds and compounds until there's nothing else left.

Part of Barack Obama's message, as far as I'm concerned, was all about High Road thinking and unifying actions. It's about choosing our responses mindfully, looking at the larger picture and making a decision that will unify rather than separate.

The best way to change thinking (in my opinion) is by example. Be the change we want to see.

Maybe a key question to ask when deciding how to choose a response is "is this going to improve our community or further divide it?"

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.




Dianne said...

so you clearly have been reading my mind :)

a thoughtful intelligent post my friend.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thank you for this thoughtful plea for moderation and respect.

I love the Buddha quotation.

Maithri said...

Yes, peaceful protest is the way.

Not hatred, violence or indifference.

Bringing the energy of peace and unity to the presence of violent, divisive thinking (which is at back of most of this 'anti gay marriage movement') is the only way to create changes.

Peace to you friend, M

Maithri said...

Yes, peaceful protest is the way.

Not hatred, violence or indifference.

Bringing the energy of peace and unity to the presence of violent, divisive thinking (which is at back of most of this 'anti gay marriage movement') is the only way to create changes.

Peace to you friend, M

LittlePea said...

Well said. (((applause))

Joan said...

I am so glad that you are here, and that you speak your mind with brevity and an intelligence that is lacking in so much of what is being spewed out there.
I appreciate deeply what you choose to bring to the forefront... these things need to be addressed in a way that will make people stop for a moment, think, and then hopefully become more informed.
And Chani, is there a connection between prop 8 and the Mormom attacks?
I'm just wondering what one may have to do with the other.


thailandchani said...

Hi Joan :)

Yes, there is a connection. The Mormon church was a major funding source for the "Yes on Prop 8" campaign. Some people are vandalizing their temples in response.


we_be_toys said...

There was bound to be a backlash, but yes, it's sad that it couldn't have been better articulated, that instead violence was the message.

I'm with the future president - let's take the high road.

Anonymous said...

the women's movement has always had this tension. To pursue a better way without resorting to the tactics that have been used to suppress women. Women maintain they have a better way, but we are as susceptible it seems to me to the same dangers of power and greed. The same is true of the gay rights movement, or any movement. The trick is to pursue the change without being changed in the process into the very thing you fight against, intolerance. You make an excellent point.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

An excellent post! The quotes from Maya Angelou and the Buddha are both sentiments we should all live by.

I suspect the vote in California was the result of the wording of Prop 8, which was confusing. I think many people believed that voting FOR it was a vote FOR equality.

All you have said here is correct. It is inconsistent to hate one group while claiming to accept others. If all are not accepted into our whole, then none really is. Clearly, there is still much work to be done.

Anonymous said...

It distresses me to no end to hear about violent repsonses to hatred/ignorance/intolerance. Only love can conquer hate.

Carol said...

Well, you and your commenters said it all wonderfully.

Thank you!

Mary said...

This will be a vigorous fight for the new administration with many obstacles to overcome but I feel good about the outcome...so far...

There will always be no-sayers.

Leann said...

It is sad to me that people often take the low road rather than the high.

Tolerance above all else in my opinion.

Amy Y said...

Amen, sister. I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for a great post and for the great quotes as well.

S said...

responding to vitriol with vitriol is letting the lowest common denominator determine how things ought to go.

we need to rise above vitriol.

hele said...

"How is hating those people going to dissolve the hate they expressed by supporting the "othering" of an entire segment of the population?"

A powerful message and one I needed to hear today. I have been holding on to a few hot coals myself.

Angela said...

What is that saying? About not becoming the monster that you are fighting? It's something we all need to watch out for. Thank you for being a peaceful voice in bringing this to our attention.

Diane said...

This is a beautiful post. I have a 9 year old daughter and one of my constant messages to her is that we have to exemplify the change we wish to see in the world. As a result, she is becoming a person who accepts diversity joyfully. But we are surrounded by others who don't and it's so hard to maintain that joyful spirit of tolerance sometimes. I'm always so happy to read posts from people who feel the way I do. It gives me hope. Thank you.

SHE said...

awesome quotes, and wonderful post!

says exactly what needs to be said and realized

i think you have it write.. that it is the result of people being at different levels of evolution

but if you look at the close margin on prop 8.. in fact, look at the fact it existed at all in this very public forum

we are headed in the write direction.. just very slowly

"to love! peace! respect!"


Sorrow said...

Sometimes the juxtapositions here
remind me of the journey
and what each of us is looking for on that horizon.

Max Coutinho said...

Hey Thai :D!

Thank you so much for having dropped by my blog and left such a valuable comment *bowing*!
You are extremely welcome to the MAX and feel free to join us any time :)!

May the light be with you!


Carla said...

You always leave me with such food for thought. I love the quote about the burning coals. So true.