Laura Crites: Will love truly trump hate?

newspaperHaving spent years counseling victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, I know what hate looks and feels like.  I know how it corrodes the soul and fills the body with toxic energy.  I know how it can seep into our being and seem to take over.  And, I know, and often experienced, the power of love to cleanse the mind, heart, body and spirit from this powerful, poisonous force.  By consciously breathing in the energy of the word “love”, I could return to and maintain a state of peace on all levels.

Having felt all of this, I knew, saw and experienced the hate as I watched the Republican National Convention this summer.  Particularly distressing were women chanting, in a seeming hypnotic state, “lock her up.”  The apparent joy on their faces belied the punitive, hate-filled nature of their chant.

From my experience, I also understood the power and potential of the Democratic National Convention’s slogan—“Love Trumps Hate.”  It drew on the core belief of the Christian faith, that love conquers all.  Not that it would necessarily assure the election of Hillary Clinton, but that, with enough people committed to love and goodwill, the hate filled rhetoric of the Republican candidate— “lock her up”, “kick them out,” “beat them up”— would be rejected.  But it wouldn’t be easy.

During the campaign, we saw that hate is a powerful tool for manipulation.  It lures people with fear—for example insisting that all Muslims are potentially dangerous. It stirs people’s anger with false stories, such as accusing Hillary Clinton of running a child pornography syndicate. It singles out those who are different and makes them deserving targets.

Now that Trump has been elected, does it mean that “hate” has won.  I don’t believe so.  In fact, his election may offer an unanticipated opportunity. That opportunity can be found in a huge global movement working as a counterforce to hate and destruction of the planet and each other.

Chinese wisdom tells us that crisis offers both danger and opportunity.  One should be alert to danger but choose to seek out opportunity.

Three books: The Great Turning, by David Korten, Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken offer insight and guidance.

Korten describes this as a moment when we, as a species, must decide what it means to be human. Do we choose to stay stuck in destructive patterns of domination and oppression, or create, instead, an earth community of compassion and caring for each other and the planet?

Hawken reports on the choice that is being made around the world.  He documents what he calls  “the greatest social movement in history” functioning as the earth’s immune system in returning the earth and its people to a relationship of mutual compassion and caring.

Finally, Macy supports us in understanding our individual power and responsibility for choosing to be part of the Great Turning.

There are many ways we can participate in this mass movement.  We only need to look for organizations and activities that place people before profits and are based a philosophy of care and compassion for each other and the earth.

Our individual choice to become part of the Great Turning may determine whether love can truly trump hate.

Column by Laura Crites

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