I saw a pleasant older woman walking down Broadway with a crazy big button pinned to the strap of her pocketbook. It stood out against her bright blue winter coat. “Make America Kind Again,” it yelled politely.
You couldn’t miss it. MAKA. Now there’s a thought.
Kindness is trending. Or, perhaps more accurately, counter-trending. I’ve noticed artists, writers and concerned citizens all over the world promoting kindness as a change agent for several years now.
The British newspaper, The Guardian, says that “Kindness is replacing mindfulness as the buzzword for how we should live.”
The publishing world calls it “up lit.” Christie Watson’s book, The Language of Kindness, out in paperback next month, is soon to be a TV series. Jaime Thurston’s action book, Kindness: The Little Thing that Matters Most, is an instruction manual for what no longer comes naturally.
In this NPR interview, a former neo-Nazi explained how meaningful empathetic interactions with customers who should have hated him changed his views. Instead of polarizing, they cohesed.
Even down in New Zealand, where civility and generosity are woven into the national character, I discovered this folk artist’s plea for kindness. It was love-locked to a railing in the Auckland harbor. Now is the time, it declares.
“I believe that in the end it is kindness and generous accommodation that are the catalysts for real change,” Nelson Mandela said.
Kindness is not just moral. It’s political. These days call for it.
Note: This post was published just before the tragic Christchurch mosque massacre.