Kindness and The First Amendment
This past week I shared a petition on Facebook for our CT Governor, Ned Lamont, to open up the state so our country can get back to work and living. The basic tenets of the petition include:
- US data shows that the case fatality rate is as low as .1%, which is akin to the mortality rate of the flu. 90% of those severely affected have an underlying health condition.
- There is a growing realization that government-imposed orders intended to keep the coronavirus from spreading is creating financial devastation for millions of Americans who have lost their income and are in danger of losing their businesses and livelihoods.
- If people are immunocompromised or have the virus, they should stay home, but healthy people should no longer continue to be quarantined.
In my next post I will share why I have not been afraid of getting the coronavirus, why I did not even own a mask until it became mandated last week, and why all of the things I have been reading about over the last 9 years regarding immunity, toxicity, and creating true health from the inside out continue to be either minimized, if not completely discredited, and why this information continues to be censored and hidden.
In this post, however, I want to remind people of our Constitutional First Amendment which protects our right to free speech and “the right to petition”.
I purposely have censored myself for years on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter because my opinions and ideologies sometimes go against the mainstream narrative, and I know from past experience and from witnessing communication between friends and groups on Facebook, in particular, that different opinions are often not tolerated, especially between the two political parties, so in the past, I have steered clear of political topics generally speaking.
I have also been warned by people who have been brave enough to express themselves publicly that I would likely lose friends and potential business relationships if I share my opinions. I have been especially admonished to be careful about what I post because of my “kindness” work, and I’m fascinated by the assumptions people make about me specifically related to that topic.
Things that make you go, hmmmm. It doesn’t feel very kind to not feel safe to express myself, and to be concerned about being bullied or that my credibility, repuatation, and relationships will be threatened if I do share resesarch and personal experience on certain topics. It certainly is not kind to be on the bullying end, and think it’s ok to call someone a conspiracy theorist (at this point, that would feel like a compliment) or refer to any news sources outside of mainstream media as “crackpot”.
I generally only tend to post something that I realize will likely be triggering to some people only if I have done a good deal of research on the topic, am gravely concerned about it, and feel almost a moral obligation to share the information to create awareness.
People don’t have to agree with someone’s posts, but they also don’t have to attack the person, shame them, and be condescending. People post stuff all the time that I far from agree with, yet I scroll along. They have the right to believe what they believe and express what they want to express. I would never leave a mean comment, take their view as a personal affront, or just tell them they are plain wrong. Yet, this happens all the time.
I didn’t realize the amount of comments and emotional charge that posting the petition to get our American economy going would create. The most surprising comment came from an old recruiter friend and former coach who I have known for 10 years. His response:
“ A pox upon all your houses. You’ll get the pandemic you deserve”
Cursing and wishing me ill will seems a little extreme, no?
These are just a few other comments I received:
“So in other words your kids get to go back to school and my daughter stays home because she is immunocompromised. That doesn’t sound awfully kind, does it? Shame on you. Shame shame shame.”
“You are just plain wrong. You are asking for people to die. What are you thinking?”
“Very difficult to be kind while being unwilling to experience inconvenience to protect the lives of others.”
And my favorite, from a mom who has a daughter in my daughter’s class:
“So, according to your thinking, my 12 year daughter who is beloved by everyone in our school community —including your own daughter—should spend the next few years at home. And it may be even longer, because you also made clear you won’t allow your kids to get a vaccine. How is that kind to my daughter? It seems to me you are saying her life is worth much less than her typical peers. All your kindness campaigns can’t change that, sadly. It’s eugenics pure and simple.”
I understand people are scared. I get how uncertainty is causing anxiety. And I’m empathetic to the fact that we all are looking at the world through our own lens. Who’s the final authority on who is right, wrong, good, or bad?
As with all subjects, there is lots of conflicting information about “the truth” and “facts”, and so one must do their own research and digging (read: not mainstream media only) and look at both sides of any story and play devil’s advocate to each, in the least biased way possible, understanding that there will always be some bias.
Let’s agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinions with an open mind, keeping kindness and empathy at the core of all our communications.
Michael Lloyd-White, my colleague and friend in World Kindness USA, summed it up best (imagine that, lol)! He said, “It’s amazing how quick we all are to prove ourselves right and someone else wrong. In the home of the brave, maybe we need to pause and reflect to see how we respond when we are facing a threat. I’m not talking about a micro-organism; I’m talking about the campaign of fear and hate which even captures those good people who would stand against it. The truth is we do not know the truth. It’s a quagmire out there with competing media narratives, but regardless, our legacy will be how we treat each other when we are all in distress in our darkest hours.”
I believe in seeking the truth, telling the truth, and living YOUR truth, whatever you determine that to be. This is easier said then done in a culture that wants you to conform. I have come to believe the greatest form of kindness is toward yourself – to have the courage to express yourself in spite of the fear of judgement, condemnation or abandonment of family, friends, and colleagues and extending that permission to others so they can do the same.
Censorship and silencing others is the greatest form of unkindness because we are not free to be our authentic selves. If we don’t feel safe to assert our personality through our conversations, spirituality, work, and creativity, then we are not living a fully expressed life.
The message around “The Kindness Solution” will continue to explore why and how truth seeking and truth telling are critical vehicles for kindness and I will share resources, research, people, and products, that are using truth and kindness as the foundation for the their work.