Every day we open the news, we read negativity. We read articles fed to us by our own personal, pre-determined algorithm that keeps us in our red states and blue states. Our bi-partisan corners. We get consumed in a vortex of our own echo chamber. All around the United States, walls are being built and reinforced by people who would likely rather bear arms than extend an arm of help to those in the most need - and we are up in arms about it.
We are reminded by the words of Rebecca Solnit - who just so happens to have written one of the most popular books amongst our tastemakers ‘Men Explain Things To Me’ - “Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch… Hope is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency… Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the Earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised… Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.” (Solnit, 2004)
Let’s call upon history to teach us a lesson. This is not about men versus women; this is not about sexual orientation, religion, gender…this is not about your country of origin–after all this very film was brought to us by French filmmaker Zoé Le Ber who still felt called to engage, though the president she doesn’t even call her own. This is about how we are all human beings, capable of the worst evils, but we are also inexplicably capable of the greatest kindness and of an unbridled love that breaches borders and cares for the earth and all of its beings.
Trump is merely symbolic of our tendencies towards selfishness and greed, hate and exclusivity. Arrogance and intolerance. We must set aside our prejudices and wake up. All of us. We who are privileged and have a voice, some of our voices are just louder than others, but together we can communicate hope and change and drown out the hateful intolerance.
So not only this week but every week, let’s call on our humanity and kindness. Our love and our collective strength. Let’s take the words of Charlie Chaplin’s speech from the Great Dictator. Let’s keep them in our hearts.
By Michelle Lu & Georgina Harding
Co-founders of Semaine.