“words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – albus dumbledore
words are powerful. i have always believed this, and being a person who really enjoys reading and writing, i have always kinda liked it, too. reading and writing bring me happiness, and making someone happy is a good kind of power. a healing power. glinda the good witch power. the kind where you say the words “there’s no place like home,” click your heels together, and realize the power was within you all along.
but this past week i have been thinking about their other kind of power. the dark and hurtful power. the kind that paints whole groups of people in sweeping generalizations, or wipes out the validity of their experiences and feelings in phrases printed on dime a dozen memes. words that inflict injury without reason or sometimes even realization, that make no effort to understand their terrible magic.
i think this is the trickiest thing about words; that those who use them don’t even know how powerful they can be. nor how powerful not using them can be.
to be clear, i am not talking about one or the other side of the political aisle. i am talking about both sides. primarily i am talking to trump supporters and hillary supporters, but also to those who voted third party, and to those who didn’t vote at all (the category with the largest subscription this year). unless we all learn to somehow communicate with each other, your positive words fall on deaf ears and your negative words injure our democracy.
america held a free and fair election on november 8th. in my opinion, it ended in total f-ery. this is the “fault” of everyone, and it is everyone’s responsibility to try our best to attenuate the injury. to start, we have to think about our words. think (is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind?) about what we are saying and why we are saying it. think about what we aren’t saying and why we aren’t saying it. in the age of social media, our words or our silence can mean just as much as our actions or inaction. let’s think about that as we go forward. we all have the choice of who we want to be, of which kind of magic we want in our world.
(addendum: speak up when you see injustice! point it out if your own party isn’t representing you! ask for help understanding a dissenting opinion! but healing actions are also great, so please don’t stop at a facebook post… protest peacefully! step in if it’s safe to protect those who need protection! sign petitions! donate to the organizations that need it now more than ever! prove that love trumps hate, don’t just shout it at those you believe to be hateful.)