Love trumps fear. Love trumps hate.
We’ve heard these expressions countless times this election cycle.
Sometimes political slogans are simply empty rhetoric; a catchy phrase meant to persuade and influence us the way a television commercial would.
Some of the political arguments we’ve heard recently feel like nothing more than sophistry. Sophistry is nothing new.
Well-crafted argument and debate such as sophistry has been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks.
The point of the sophistry is to successfully win the argument, not necessarily to offer truth and knowledge.
This is exactly why Socrates tried to challenge his contemporaries.
Socrates worked to muddle through the arguments of the Sophists, who mostly followed social conventions and norms without questioning whether or not something was right or just.
With all of the rhetoric and sophistry this political season, it is easy for Long Islanders to become apathetic and/or frustrated.
Yet, let’s consider that among all of the slogans and negativity that we are being bombarded with, some of the ideas are real and true.
Let’s consider that love really does trump fear.
What kind of country do we want for our children, our grandchildren, our friends, and for ourselves?
We want to be safe, of course. Yet, any time we make decisions based on fear, the results are not usually what we expect.
What will make us safe? Will it be walls, intolerance, hatred, and insults?
We can spend so much time and energy building walls, literally and metaphorically.
Decisions that are made out of fear, and certainly hate, only cause more pain and more struggle.
Safety and protection comes from well-informed intelligence and expert strategy, not fear and hate.
Can we stop bullies from hurting our children, or racism from interfering with lives, or the pain of struggling parents choosing to feed their children over themselves, or impoverished children growing up in cycles of violence and drugs? Only love and compassion can fight these struggles.
If we belittle and make fun of the disabled, allow derogatory remarks about women, alienate and stereotype whole ethnicities and cultures, and insult and name-call our peers, we are inviting our children to do the same to each other. This will not make our country safe, and will only create more fear.
Whatever religion a person prescribes to, if any, I think the one thing that most of us Long Islanders believe in our hearts is that love really does trump fear.
Love really does trump hate. Love liberates us; fear imprisons us.
Our democracy is based on this very premise.
Our country was founded on freedom of religion, economic liberty, the promise of rule of law, that everyone is treated equal under the law, and that we are all created equal.
The hope for American was that with this equality, we all have the hope of realizing our own American dream. We have come so far since our founding fathers made this promise, too.
Women’s rights have become human rights, LGBTQ rights are a national goal, education has become more available, and health care more accessible.
Further, science has helped us realize the importance of caring for our environment. Long Island really does have such natural beauty.
Teaching our children to care for and respect our natural world helps them learn to respect the beautiful diversity of life, and to respect each other.
These are all issues that are country has made so much progress on, yet we need to do even more. If we choose fear over love, we’ll take giant steps backwards.
I’ve heard many Long Islanders that are so disenchanted with this election cycle say that they are choosing apathy over action.
They are choosing not to exercise their right to vote and many feel that this will somehow make a point.
The problem with this strategy is that by disengaging from the political process, you are simply giving your neighbor more power.
You are making their vote count more. I understand that many do not like either side. Neither side is perfect.
Yet, this election is not only about voting for a candidate. It is about voting for love over hate and love over fear.
In the words of John Lennon: “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.”
Let us not pull back from life.
Love trumps fear. Love trumps hate.