Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. –Martin Luther King Jr.
What does it look like to treat others in a way that contributes to their health and well-being?…It looks like honoring their dignity. –Donna Hicks, “Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict”
On Saturday I was at home working from my computer. I was taking a day off the bike. After all is was forecast to rain and snow. But I felt restless midmorning, and the sun was shining. Then I realized there was a mobile food market happening downtown that I wanted to check out. The perfect confluence of reasons converged on my morning plans. I had a desire, I had a reason, and sunshine. I was out the door at 11am pedaling down Zuni toward downtown.
On Zuni Road a dark grey cloud produced a fabulous hail storm. White pellets ricocheted off my face and bounced like ping pong balls on the ground. I covered my red skin and pedaled on! Downtown I came across the Women’s March. Civic Plaza was full of citizens rallying, people speaking what they believed. Peace, loving earth, science & reason, ending every form of discrimination and bias, equality all around. Government for and by We The People. It didn’t feel like a protest. It was a broad coalition of emerging leaders walking forward.
The atmosphere generated by the buzz of the crowd and inspiring talks from leaders on stage was electric. One of the key elements that makes this kind of inclusion possible is the strange paradox of human life. We have dual properties acting simultaneously. Diversity is part of the richness of the human tapestry and we rightly celebrate it. And at the same time we are able to relate to each other because on the inside, there is a common bond. We are all the same.
E pluribus Unum–out of many, one–is the motto of the U.S.A. I believe it is characteristic of leadership to treat others well and live universal values–peace, inclusion, understanding, responsibility, empathy. To stop bullying, we cannot be bullies ourselves.
“The last refuge of intolerance is not tolerating the intolerant.” –George Eliot
We’ve always known by intuition and feeling that treating others well is the most satisfying action we can make. And now we have science–biology and psychology–informing us that our actions count. “The research tells us, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the way we treat one another matters” (Hicks p. 125 in Dignity). As Abraham Lincoln said, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” Pay it forward. Everyone, not only U.S. Citizens, are worthy of the dream.