Like many people today, I woke up, looked at my phone, and then resisted the urge to throw it across the room.
Donald Trump is president of the United States. Donald Trump. Yes, that Donald Trump. The one who based his whole presidential campaign on a basis of racism, sexism, a disgusting attitude towards those who are disabled, and overall bigotry.
THAT Donald Trump.
It’s kind of insane to even imagine the world got to this point. Like a lot of people on Twitter have been saying, the US saw the mess the UK made with Brexit and said ‘Here, hold my drink. Watch this.’
There are lots of people online who are understandably very angry about what has happened. They’re angry because they can’t believe we live in a world where such a man can get so much power. Moreover, they’re terrified that there are so many people who though ‘Yes, that man says what we think. We should vote him in.’
It’s up to us, ladies and gentlemen, to cancel their bigotry out. And it is bigotry. If you vote for someone who says he wanted to ban followers of Islam from his country, or force Mexico to build a wall between them and the US, then yes, you are a bigot.
Don’t let hate speech go unchallenged. We’re better than that.
That’s why I propose we start a campaign of our own. A campaign to fight back against such disgusting attitudes with a platform of compassion and kindness for everyone. That includes Trump voters, by the way. We may hate their thinking but they deserve compassion, just like everyone else.
I’m going to call this campaign ‘Make The World Kind Again’. MTWKA? I might have to think of a catchier hashtag.
Anyway, here’s my very quickly drawn up plan to get the world thinking about others again.
– Stand up to violence: After Brexit, we saw a massive uprising in hate speech and attacks in the UK. Political rulings such as this tell people that they can voice their aggressive opinions and get away with it. Remember, that’s not the case. The right to free speech means you can’t be sent to jail for saying what you think. That’s it.
If you see someone being abused, anywhere in the world, stand up for them. Tell the abuser to back off. Sit with the person being abused, and be by their side. Show them that somebody cares, and that the abuser’s actions are frowned upon. If it’s too dangerous to get involved, call the police. Don’t let hate speech go unchallenged. We’re better than that.
– Volunteer: Volunteers make sure the people who don’t usually have a voice are recognised in their communities. If you have the time, volunteer with a charitable cause that’s close to your heart. If you don’t have the time, donate to those charities. If you don’t have the time or the money, promote them on your social media, in your school or college, wherever you are. Make sure those people get to keep their voice.
– Practice random acts of kindness: This doesn’t mean you have to pay for the next ten peoples’ coffee in the line at Starbucks (although if you want to, go right ahead). This just means do your best to be a good person. If you see someone struggling to get a pram up the stairs, lend a hand. If you see someone with amazing hair or a stunning tattoo, tell them that they look awesome. Take the time out of your day just to spread a little bit of love and kindness around. Here’s the secret; if you do that, you’ll feel good about yourself too. You can’t lose!
We live in a world that encourages us to think about nobody but ourselves, and look where that’s got us. We need to change things.
– VOTE: I’m not kidding around on this one. When elections roll around, vote. You can’t make your voice heard if you don’t show up to the polling station. If you’re worried about the results, you can do something about it. Protest. Campaign for change. Put forward your argument, calmly. Listen to those who think differently to you. Nothing will change if you just sit and put up with it.
I know many people will be reading this and thinking, ‘But kindness won’t fix the world.’ Oh yeah? Try it. I’ve been accused of being too ‘bleeding heart’ and not thinking about reality whenever I’ve tried to talk about the lack of kindness in the world.
Here’s the deal. I, like everyone else, can’t ignore reality. I want to change it, and I believe the only way we can do so is by showing each other compassion. That way, we undercut all the sexism, racism, homophobia, and just all round abuse that is happening right now. We live in a world that encourages us to think about nobody but ourselves, and look where that’s got us. We need to change things.
I challenge you to get out there and be everything that Trump and all his supporters hate. Be kind. Be tolerant. Listen to people. Think about others than yourself. We can make a change. It’ll be hard, and we’ll struggle, but goddamn. I think we can do it.
Siobhan Harper is a freelance writer living in Birmingham UK. She strongly believes in figuring things out as you go along, but only because she's pathalogically disorganised. You can follow her adventures in writing at http://wingingitsiobhanharper.blogspot.co.uk/, or her thoughts on early mornings and dogs on Twitter at @Beatrix_Plotter.