I watched the Republican debate last night and was made aware of how important it is to “be nice.” Even when we have strong feelings about something…such as political issues…it is important to realize that we can still “be nice” even as we feel very intensely. As the two parties gear up for the 2012 election, it is important to remember that it is kind of like being on the playground and choosing sides for some scrap football game, then wanting, re the opponent, “to kick their ass.” It is fun to win and part of the energy flowing on the political scene is that of a horse race….if I might switch metaphor here…and I want my pony to win.
And the need to “be nice” is always present. As I lead my day-to-day life, there are often feelings of unpleasantness re other people I come in contact with. And I try to practice “mindfulness” and recognize these thoughts and feelings as they come. And it is often very helpful to remember the notion of “random acts of kindness” and respond appropriately.
The media is so often “not nice.” It is almost as if they seek stories to hold out before us in which someone has acted foolishly and shamefully. It is so rewarding to listen to or read of these people and snicker, laugh, or heap scorn upon them. I often think of Michael Jackson and how he became a scapegoat for us. Sure, he was….well…Michael Jackson. Michael made some horrible choices because he wrestled with deep-seated personal demons. But we went too far in ridicule of him. I recently read where he had acknowledged this experience and how it made him feel.—“Yeah, Wacko Jacko, where did that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me. It’s not nice.”
Michael suffered a lot in his life, and caused suffering to others, but we didn’t have to demonize him. When I was a child we had “the village idiot” and it was so fun to view him with contempt, scorn, and derisive humor. But it was “not nice.” So, today, let’s all “be nice!”