We Must Find Love in Our Hearts Again

The election is driving us all crazy. Bat sh-t crazy. Everyone is on edge. Everyone — no matter what their political affiliation — is worried. But what’s even more disturbing: there’s an undercurrent of anger and hate for each other rising to the surface of our society that is pervading our hearts, our families and our country.

As a mother of three young children, this anger and hate has brought more fear into my heart than at any other time. It is keeping me up at night as I worry for my family and for our country — the country our children will inherit from us. Churches are being burned. People are screaming insults at others who are different from them, in looks and in beliefs. Political signs are being stolen and being booby trapped. Children are yelling offensive words at other children who are different from them. Swastikas and confederate flag images are showing up around the country with increased frequency.

A culture of hate is rearing its ugly head. This is a culture of hate that has been spewed throughout this election; it’s a culture of anger, of violence, of disrespect and of intolerance. It is in opposition to the very values of upon which our country was created, that “all men are created equal”. And it’s spreading as it gains acceptance — like a contagious virus — among more and more people.

We are hearing it. And our children are hearing it and repeating it — it’s why bullying is up in schools around the country. One mother shared with me that, while watching a soccer game, she overheard one child calling an opposing teammate a “stupid Muslim.”

“You’re getting shipped back to Mexico,” is what some kids told a group of Latino children. My own Guatemalan nephew — an American citizen and middle schooler — worries that he’ll get shipped back to Guatemala without his family. No matter how much we reassure children that this won’t happen, this is what is keeping them up at night.

We are a country built on immigrants. We are all descended from immigrants yet THIS. How quickly we forget.

Even the latest Starbucks coffee cup — a drawing of different people all connected with a single line to show that, as humans, we are all connected — is being angrily criticized as being “political brainwashing.”

Since when has humanity — and the realization that we are all humans, together, in this thing called life — become politics? Since when has the very essence of who we are as people — no matter what color our skin, what language we speak, or what religion we worship — become politics?

Since when have our differences defined us more than our similarities?

It is time to take a moment to stop, put our political affiliation badge aside and follow our hearts. As I say to my young daughter: “Always do what feels good to you on your inside.”

Every night, I say a prayer with my children before bed: “May truth, honesty, integrity, morality, justice and kindness prevail.” I say the same prayer for our children, for our country and for this election. May we banish the culture of anger, violence, intolerance, and disrespect from our hearts — for us, for our children and for this country “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

About the Author

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Valerie Latona is the former editor in chief of Shape—and one of the leading writers/editors on the topic of living healthy with confidence. Find more about Valerie, and read more of her blogs, at valerielatona.com.

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