Make America Kind Again
Thomas G. Plante
You likely have heard about this popular new slogan, “Make America Kind Again,” which has been a variation on President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The sentiment is a reaction to the remarkable meanness, rancor, and base insults that have been commonplace in our current political environment.
When we stop to reflect on this saying, perhaps it speaks volumes regarding the need for all of us to do our part in making our country and communities more kind. We live in a highly competitive environment with a high tolerance for rudeness and debasement. Politics provides only one obvious example of how it has become increasingly acceptable to behave in venomous and degrading ways toward others. We certainly see models of this in the popular media, sports, politics, business, and so forth. In fact, the more outrageous and unkind some people are the more they seem rewarded and reinforced. They certainly get plenty of attention. This appears to be true in politics, talk radio, cable news reporting, celebrity culture, and even among many high tech business leaders.
At the end of the day, we value and appreciate kindness, civility, integrity, and wish to live in a community that also values these qualities.
Yet, in the deepest parts of our psyche, I do believe that we recoil from this new “normal” way of interacting with one another. At the end of the day, we value and appreciate kindness, civility, integrity, and wish to live in a community that also values these qualities. While our culture, community, and politics might atrophy and gravitate toward meanness, we really must do all that we can to push back and push back hard by demanding kindness, civility, and integrity, and not allow the rudest in the room to get too much air time, attention, and reinforcement. After all, these are behaviors we would never tolerate or encourage in our children, neighbors, friends, or colleagues.
We can certainly make America kind again if we demand that we, ourselves, and others maintain a level of civility in our interactions. Both speaking up against this growing boorishness and holding ourselves to these higher standards of communicating with others can positively contribute to this civil fabric of our society, while pushing back against the rising tide of "in your face" politics.
if America is kind again, then America will get closer to the goal of being great again too
I often say that we must let respect and kindness be organizing and centering principles for all that we say and do. If we try to base our interactions on these important and fundamental qualities then we will do our small part in making America kind again. And if America is kind again, then America will get closer to the goal of being great again too.
Can you do your part? Will you?
*A version of this article was originally published by Psychology Today on April 1, 2016.