A lot is going on. The world, it seems, is splitting ever more along party lines, and the sides are taking lumps out of each other. It's hard to even choose a side, because anything approaching a principle seems to be absent in so many of the arguments. Having said that, it's easy enough to believe in the rightness of a cause. One pertinent at the moment might be the end of racism. But it's hard to choose how to do the best in support of that cause. My approach, as I was trying to detail to a neighbour a few days ago, has been to try to win the argument in favour of kindness, of a sort of love that accepts different choices and if a disagreement arises, tries to show the right way. But - and this is the thing I am wrestling with at the moment - sometimes it seems as though that soft approach, that attempt to be the still, small voice of calm amongst the anger and the hate, is not enough.
Should one protest in solidarity? I don't know. I can certainly feel anger on behalf of the oppressed, the downtrodden, the institutionally impoverished, whilst also acknowledging that I am not among their number. The act of protest, whether violent or not, is both very easy to twist in covering it so as to make it appear to be something else, and - for me in my position in the community - forbidden by contract. Even with a seemingly straightforward cause, such as feminism, I have found myself having to take in new arguments about how what I had previously thought was an easy enough position to endorse might not capture the whole picture. I am not the right person to smooth out differences between those who say trans women are women, and those who say trans women aren't women, but my eyes are open to both sides. If I had an observation to add, perhaps it is simply that kindness ought to be the guiding principle. And that might not come up with the same answer in all situations, which could make me appear - ironically - to be unprincipled.
I am not a Christian in the metaphysical sense, as I have written on this very blog before. But I think if there is anything in the Bible that is worth repeating, it is that call to be loving:
But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Christians might argue about the relative value of faith and acts of love, but the goal, as far as I can tell, is to be loving regardless of any future reward. It should be enough that being righteous is right, and not that being righteous is the path to heaven.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…
So, my call: be good. In fact, be excellent to each other. And just wait for now until this whole Covid-19 business is at an end before partying on, dude.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought