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In these times, find the joy of being human


The election of Donald J Trump as America's 45th President, confirmed in this week's inauguration, presents numerous challenges to human rights and people power.

The boorish, misogynistic, arrogant tenor of his campaign has cast a pall over the rights of minorities in America and across the globe as his "America First" call, by definition, puts everyone else second or worse. The only equality in the scenario he presents is of the George Orwell type: that of some being more equal than others.

Such a situation already exists of course. Western males wield more direct and indirect power in global terms than, say, a dark-skinned girl in a slum. Trump is hardly breaking new ground. But, his ascendancy gives that dark reality more momentum. It puts it closer to the centre of normal. His message threatens to break the positive values that link human beings to each other.

Globally, governments, civil society and civilians need to make a stand.

We need to step up to demand from our leaders - and more importantly from ourselves - the courage of our convictions and the firmness of our resolve. We all need to take a big view on the way we think about everything, questioning our thoughts and actions for the impact they have on the global commons, the Society of Us that we are all members of.

We don't need more people. We need humans.

TAKE STOCK

While we can mobilise and agitate for positive change - both worthy actions - we can all, each and every one of us, be vigilant about how we live, how we make decisions and how we express our humanity.

In the Trump era, it will be easy to fall prey to our lesser selves, the base versions of who we are, and to slip into willed ignorance, insensitivity or prejudice. This will be encouraged because ensuring we all carry these viruses is the basis of the success of those who, like Trump (and he is not alone), insist that we should fear each other, should build walls between us and see life a zero-sum game.

This has to be personal.

Of course, for The Kick Project, as a charity that relies on donations - private and organisational - we hope that personal conviction translates to revenue to allow us to continue our work.

But, this is about more than self-interest.

This is a moment in time where we are all being asked to take personal stock of ourselves, to be responsible for our actions and to be accountable to each other.

This is something we at The Kick Project take very seriously.

But, we are not serious about it.

HUMANITY IS FUN

Areas like human rights and prejudice can become tense and fraught. That's understandable. But, the solutions to these problems need not be so earnest.

Laughter is multilingual. A gentle touch on the arm in a time of need is universal. A smile is like silent Esperanto. Kindness speaks the same language to all. Playing is understood by everyone.

The point is that a better world doesn't need to be intellectualised and idealised. It needn't come from a high powered think tank or after years of top level negotiations. It needn't cost a lot and it needn't take a long time.

Those that want us to believe that generally benefit from such processes. They are wrong.
Better relations between humans is about the simple things, like shared laughter. It can be fun, like a simple kick about game of soccer/football.

Thats what we do and we want everyone to be part of this vision.

A better world is the sum of billions of small, often unnoticed, parts, of which we are all one. It's in small actions - not ignoring someone in need, standing up to bigots among our family or friends, or being prepared to play with someone who looks different and speaks different and who we are told we should fear.

From these small things big things will come.

The era of President Trump needs us simply to be kind human beings who can embody those small things and who can make their daily contributions to the Society of Us.  And who have fun doing it. For without a smile, without enjoying being human, what world are we making?

The great Desmond Tutu captured the essence of shared humanity when  he, as a 62 year-old, voted for the first time in his native South Africa. He marked this momentous event by embracing his enemies and his pain, and his joy, saying he wanted to "yell, dance, jump and cry all at the same time!"

Then he danced and cried, "Yippee!!"

Joy won.

That's what humanity looks like to us, now more than ever.

Comments


  1. Agreed mate. We need to engage, and on our terms. The world does not end at our letter box.

    ReplyDelete

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