This morning I had the distinct privilege of having today's subject appear on the front page of POLITICO. After seeing it, I immediately knew that I needed to share this with y'all.
"Cleveland wants to become the 'kindest place in the country.'" -- POLITICO, 25 March
As my focus on building a positive, constructive, and civil coverage of world events through this website might indicate, I value kindness as an essential virtue and an effective treatment for many of today's problems. Toxic political discourse prevents people from different sides from seeking to understand other people's viewpoints. While you might not immediately see why that's a problem (many partisans believe that they are right, after all), ask yourself, do you want people on the other side -- liberal, conservative, etc. -- to understand why you say the things you do, or do you want them to think of you as an evil villain? I imagine that the answer is the former.
In the complex, multifaceted world that we live in it is essential that we seek to understand other people's points of view, even if we do not adopt their views or consider them to represent the "truth." This way, when other people say things we disagree with, we know that they are at least trying to make things better, even if their ideas aren't all that good. This is the first step to kindness and civility in political discourse. Although there are some very loud public critics of this idea, and moderation and kindness are out of vogue at the moment, basic principles such as kindness, gratitude, and neighborly love are truly important for us to embrace anyways.
Conservatives and liberals are not monolithic blocs, where every voter sees the exact same issues in the exact same light and believes in the exact same solutions to solve them. At best, maybe 10% of the population believes in everything that you do. Kindness and co-operation in politics are essential to running a country for the same reason that understanding and compromise are essential to keeping a family together.
But that's all political. Even though my website is about being grateful for political things, and promoting kindness in the civic arena, you can be grateful for far more than just politics. That's why some wonderful people in Cleveland have started the Kindland initiative.
The Kindland initiative (Credit: Values-in-Action Foundation)
I'll let the nice people over at the Values-in-Action Foundation explain it themselves.
"Presented by Cleveland-based, non-profit organization, Values-in-Action Foundation, the Kindland movement is bringing together communities, businesses, organizations, and schools by recognizing and sharing the acts of kindness around us in an effort to inspire a ground swell of positivity and goodness that will solidify Northeast Ohio as the kindest place in the nation. Kindland relies on the power of the people to do, recognize, report, and share the acts of kindness happening everyday. "The goal is to create a community that can sustain a unified sense of kindness, compassion, empathy and understanding. These values are the foundation we need for our community to have the strength to find solutions to our most prominent issues including navigating through the COVID-19 crisis, poverty, social justice, racism, and political polarization. "Kindland is a part of Values-in-Action's broader Just Be Kind campaign that aims to make kindness the overriding and embedded value in communities across the United States." -- Values-in-Action Foundation
One of Kindland's projects that was brought to my attention this morning is a brand new app, called "Just Be Kind," where users can share happy and positive things that they see every day. Kathy Gilsinan, writing for POLITICO, gives examples such as neighborhood sidewalks being shoveled, a kid giving out money, and even just somebody bringing a new puppy home. You can read the full article here on POLITICO's website. Perhaps most heartwarming for a political writer like myself was seeing both progressive and conservative politicians coming together to endorse a project that they know will benefit their community.
Not convinced yet that kindness can change lives? Check out the Just Be Kind app and their wonderful website, which explains all of this far better than I can. I'm not entirely sure that people outside of Northeast Ohio are supposed to use the app, but I certainly think it's a sweet idea and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.
As always, I hope that y'all have a wonderful day and I look forward to writing again for you very soon!
-- Seal with a Pen