I have taken the title of this post from an opinion piece written by Doreen Lawrence in the Guardian “Honour Jo Cox by meeting division with compassion – and anger with love.”
I am profoundly discouraged by world events over the last few years. It seems to me that day-to-day brutality has increased in pace with the cynicism of governments and all the powers-that-be as they respond to it. There seems no moral high ground left, no ethical impulse operant in the episodes of violence that convulse us, nor in our responses to them. We divide rather than unite; fear rather than understand. At most there seems a welcoming of apocalypse by all those involved…
Even in situations where violence is not overt, there is a constant stoking of underlying tensions – a building of hatreds in effect in the politics of our nations. The Trump campaign in the US is an obvious example of this as is the anti-immigration focus of some of the Brexit Leave campaigners. In Canada, the last federal election was contested under similar conditions. Luckily in the Canadian case the Harper government, who were stoking the flames of division, were defeated by the Trudeau Liberals who campaigned clearly against them. And I hope similarly that Trump will lose to Clinton, and Brexit Leave to Remain. But even so these results would be but temporary victories in an ongoing state of tension where hatred is stoked by many interests and neighbours turn against neighbour.
Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered in a hate crime, advises us:
“As Jo Cox said in her powerful and – reading it again now – heartbreakingly tragic maiden speech just a year ago: “Whilst we celebrate our diversity, the thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”.
We are and we do. Jo Cox dedicated herself to public service, fighting for those who did not have a voice. And she did so with hope, compassion and justice. Living by those values is how we honour her memory. Meeting division with compassion, resentment with generosity, and anger with love is how we make sure some good comes from her death. That is how we fight the hatred that killed her.“
She is right. Hatred only breeds hatred.
I stand in awe of her compassionate wisdom, even if I find the suggested path a toilsome one to walk. But I will try.
A better world is ours to build. Step by step, step-by-step
original photo taken from my flickr