I have been trying to stay quiet during this election season. The rancorous debate over which candidate was less evil didn’t need one more angry voice shouting. But I was reminded today by my fellow writers that we have a moral obligation to be the voice that describes a different world. A world that celebrates diversity. A world in which everyone is safe, and free, and has food, housing, and health care. A world in which racism and sexism are not tolerated. A world in which people care about one another—not just about those who look like themselves and who worship the same god, but about the sum total of humanity. A world in which people think and act for the good of the planet, not just for today, but for the future.
It is our obligation to imagine such a world.
It is our obligation to remind the world of our own sad history, and ring the alarm bells when we see Hitler rise again. It is our obligation to bare the subtle ugliness in today’s world for all to see, and to imagine how it could be different.
But it’s not just writers who have an obligation to speak up. It’s time for everyone who values diversity to stand and be counted.
That Trump rose to the presidency on a platform of hate is a damning indictment of American culture. A culture that stands silent as it watches injustice, prejudice, and hate play out in myriad subtle and not-so-subtle ways. We can no longer remain silent. It is time to point out the hate wherever it shows itself. It is time to stop accepting that ‘haters gonna hate’.
What does that mean, from a practical standpoint? It means being brave. It means withdrawing financial and other support for organisations that perpetuate racism and sexism. It means speaking up when a friend or co-worker says something dismissive about ‘others’. It means banishing your own hateful thoughts and actions (because we all have them). It means volunteering your time to help those in need. It means lobbying your legislators. It means getting involved in your own local politics.
It will take so many actions, little and big, subtle and overt, to change the culture of hate. None of us can do it alone. But I know we are not alone. From my vantage point here in New Zealand, I know that much of the world is with us. Let us do them together. Don’t wait for the new year to make your resolutions. Make them now. Stand firm. Speak out. Imagine a world of love, and make it so.