Over the last weekend of May 2020, about 3 hours before Southern California was filled with the various pockets of peaceful protests that unfortunately were tarnished by the violent rioters, I saw a small sign in Granada Hills. Compassion is stronger. Only three words that presented a powerful and significant message. Turmoil, fear, and uncertainty have been the persistent feelings of our nation for the past 2 months, everyone persisting diligently to keep sane and safe while sheltering at home. We’ve seen our cities ravaged by fear, the continued idea that everywhere outside of our homes is the doomsday we’re simply ill-prepared for. As a society, we have seen incredible instances of people, regardless of background, banding together to keep our world in one piece. How is that in the midst of a crisis, a national pandemic, we can show strength and compassion? Perhaps it’s the sheer will of people determined to find normalcy again and bring about true togetherness.
Unfortunately, emphasizing togetherness, stating that we are in this together, was not enough to really keep our unity.
The pandemic weakened society. The riots that have been raging on have only battered and bruised the morale further. Senseless violence isn’t the way to elicit change. Scores of history in the last 100 years alone have proven just how vicious and cruel violence truly is. Some may say that it’s a necessary evil to achieve the change a struggling society needs. This was part of the reason we had two world wars. Violence is emotion-driven, plain and simple. As emotional creatures, when all logical or pragmatic thinking has been exhausted, we can’t help but feel that action will bring about the change, the forward-thinking, the difference that we’re desperately seeking. We’re frustrated that we’re not being acknowledged or understood. Emotions (especially those in anger) are fleeting, the consequences of our actions are not.
Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. Generating long-lasting actual change has a better chance of succeeding when we lay out a plan, consider the possibilities, and pull together for the common goal. Everyone, big and small, old and young, we’ve all faced struggles of varying depths of pain, trauma, anger. You can’t douse the pain with more pain. You only become more enraged and hurt. If we really want to create true togetherness, to speak with a united voice, then we need to listen and share each other’s pain–only then can we understand. We need to experience and see what each of us feels; we call this compassion. Only with compassion can we pave the way to real change.