Let kindness be the path

Everyone is angry, the right, the left, the middle, all of us. We are split based on politics, race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, age, ability, social class, and culture. Our views, beliefs, and how we choose to express them is our right provided by the first amendment of the United States constitution.

But why does exercising our first amendment rights need to be so shaming, hurtful, and personal? In this country, the United States, we lack empathy and strive to capitalize on indifference. This indifference drives division that assures our path forward will be without change, without growth and generates fear and anger within our communities. These emotions, unchecked, provide tyranny the opportunity to take over our country. It allows detractors to minimize and mislabel our protests and occupy our streets.

All of us rarely agree on every aspect of a belief or view. Most interactions with others rely on compromise. Reaching agreement involves finding a common denominator or yielding to the greater good. We will never reach an agreement through name-calling or personalizing our beliefs so strongly that changing them means questioning our own identity.

I see one path forward that does not result in continued division, pain, and violence. It's simple on paper, hard in reality, and requires self-awareness, strong character, and patience. The answer is kindness. Even when anger is the guide, let kindness be the path.

I share this on the day we lay to rest Representative John Robert Lewis, a man of humility, integrity, and kindness that sacrificed his body and his life for the change and growth we need to be a better country.