“To me, if you’re not being honest with someone you’re not being kind to them, and I think [people] are associating kindness with niceness, and I associate kindness with the action of loving. So niceness is agreeable, it’s people pleasing, it’s pleasant. Niceness says ‘let’s not talk about politics.’ And I don’t want to sound like I’m knocking on niceness because niceness is great, niceness is pleasant, and agreeableness at the right moment is just lovely. You can’t constantly be confronting everyone all the time. But niceness doesn’t have hard conversations. The action of loving someone is about working toward the good of them, the good of you, and the good of the world. And sometimes that means having a hard conversation…that’s really uncomfortable, but when you do that, you’re seeing what you believe they could be and saying ‘we need to work through this hardness to get to the good on the other side.’”
- Tessa Violet
These words have been marinating in my brain a lot the past few days.
I speak my mind a lot. I've spoken my mind about politics a lot. As a journalism student, studying media coverage of politics is the majority of what I do day-to-day, and sharing what I know to be true based on what I've learned is something I will never stop doing. It's my job. It's my responsibility.
But of course, in an election season, being the one who speaks up makes you controversial. You become THAT person whose facebook feed is filled with political posts. You're seen as always being negative and a "downer." You lose friends. You get called names.
In the past semester alone, I've been called ignorant, arrogant, disrespectful, insulting, and judgmental. I've been called a "feminazi cunt" and a "stupid twat bitch." I've been told that the Christian ideal I should be following is to not "attack" anyone for what they believe. I've been told that speaking out against injustice is the same as slander.
Holding people accountable is not done out of hatred. Holding people accountable is not slanderous. Holding people accountable is not an attack. Anyone who has known me for a decent length of time knows I unapologietically question authority. I do not climb on the "happy train" for the sake of making others comfortable. I am not passive.
This isn't to say that I engage all the time. I do not bring up hard subjects on a whim. We're in a age of instantaneous communication where thoughts can be spread before our brains are done processing them, and that has its own value, but it's not how I operate. I write drafts. And drafts. And drafts. Any facebook post of mine that is more than a sentence long was written in a separate document, left overnight to be looked at with fresh eyes, then re-drafted again before posting. I don't say a lot, but when I do, it is well deliberated and it makes a point - probably a point worth considering.
Having hard conversations isn't the easy route, but it's a route I continue to take. I can respect the office of the presidency without respecting the person in it. I can give the president a chance without giving him a pass. I can be kind and loving without being nice and agreeable.
Nice girls don't change the world.