While I was writing this week’s newsletter, I realized that the forces of division had not taken a summer break this year. While I was entertaining my kids during our eighth consecutive daddy-summer-camp, the steady drumbeat of anger, fear, and contempt in public discourse seemed to grow louder—if that’s even possible.
Everyone Thinks They Are On the Right Side of History
As emotions have gotten hotter, everyone seems to assume that they are on the right side of history, that their ideological position is the only one that is correct and that everyone else is mistaken. People stand on the opposite sides of widening chasms in both religion and politics and shout: “They started it! They are wrong!”
Who Will Listen to the Bridge Builders?
In this type of atmosphere, people who suggest that we should build bridges and work towards harmony are often branded as delusional. “Peace is not in sight,” they say. “You have to fight for your right. Stay angry and outraged!”
It's a sad fact that peacemakers have historically been laughed at, scorned and shouted down. Fortunately for us, history is on the side of those who long for a state of civil discourse. Peace has prevailed more often than not… but it hasn’t come out of nowhere. Peace is usually the result of tireless work by those who are committed to it.
Heroes of History
If hate is met with hate, vile rhetoric and name-calling are met with more of the same, and angry outrage has become a badge to be worn with pride, then we are on the wrong track. Sure, it may feel good in the short term and feel like the righteous response, but cooler heads will hopefully prevail in the long run. In the face of adversity it is important to remember that bridge builders are not spineless—they are heroes of history.
Important to Band Together
Let’s face it. Things will probably get worse before they get better. That is why it imperative for those who are willing to work towards harmony to band together. Once people finally realize that aggression only begets aggression, we need to be ready on the sidelines with ideas, strategies and methods that can be used immediately.
Preparing Our Toolboxes for Healing
We, the bridge builders, need to be healers, equipped with something better than wishful thinking. Imagine a physical war zone. It needs well-trained medics with the right tools to get the job done. The same is true in regards to the current psychological and ideological conflict that is being fueled from all sides. The bridge builders and harmony healers need to ditch platitudes and stock their toolboxes with ideas and practices that actually work.
That's What I'm Working On
And so, as I return to work, I am committed to providing others with actual tools that get the job done. I am committed to writing, speaking, and teaching, talking with all those who share my affinity for social harmony. Hopefully, the ripple effect will be measurable.
I may not be able to do great things, but as Mother Teresa used to say, I can do small things with great love.
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Bridge Building and Social Harmony
We are an educational and social good interfaith organization. We envision a world where people have access to strategies, methods and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge building across divides.
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©Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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