Non-violence as a response to political hate on Facebook

Last year.

She knelt before me, placing her hands on my feet. She was giving me Reiki, a free service offered to anyone who decides to plunk down in a chair in the back of the church service and receive it. I looked into her eyes and saw such love. She was my mom’s age. Maybe a little younger. Maybe a little older? She was black.

What racism had she faced in her lifetime? How many countless displays had there been?

And she bowed before me and offered her healing and her heart, with dignity and with grace and with compassion for me, this white girl who needed a little energy work.

Slavery existed such a short time ago. Segregation was a thing of my parents’ generation. Four little girls killed in a church bombing just a few years before I was born. Daddies lynched. Crosses in yards. Cowards in hoods.

As the election draws nearer, I see racist comments and cartoons posted on Facebook directed against our president. Not political commentary, but hate. Racist hate. My heart hardens. I want to punch back. It’s my nature to react. The other side, my side, gleefully bashes his opponent, drunk with drama about what happens if God forbid he’s elected, rather than focusing on the good our president has done and what they appreciate about him and what they look forward to in the next four years. Rather than pumping Obama up, and getting him re-elected, they focus on the other guy, making him stronger. People think they are so smart with their political repartee. Getting off on tearing down those who have different views from you shows your smallness, shows how controlled you are by your ego. Intellectual wit is not true Intelligence. You can be witty as hell and still have a very un-evolved heart.

I want to react.

Instead I sit with my nine year old son, and watch Martin Luther King Junior declare his dream.

I think about people who were hosed down, and beaten by police, and who marched and who didn’t give up and who met hatred with non-violence. Dr. King told them not to strike back and they didn’t. He told them to love. Strength in non-violence. They were strong.

If they could do that, I can refrain from sending hateful retorts back on Facebook. Surely I can.

I will. I will refrain from commenting until I can do it from a Higher ground. I will teach my children, touching lightly on you and your hatred in the lesson plan, but I will focus on non-violence and the miracle that black people in this country are kind and good and forgiving despite the horrors of their recent history. Despite the blatant racism that continues to surround them today.

But don’t for a moment take my temporary non-response as agreement. And please, don’t for a second think you are a good “Christian” as you fling your racist hate.

Don’t for a moment think your kind isn’t a dying breed. Y’all are on your way out.

And to Obama supporters? A new day already dawned in 2008.

Why don’t we focus on that?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

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13 Responses to Non-violence as a response to political hate on Facebook

  1. Kathy Sullivan says:

    Thank you for this reminder Michelle. I have been “hiding” some of my more conservative friends/family members from my wall because I just don’t want to hear it anymore. I did lose it however on one of my family members the other day on FB..and felt my anger just rip through me as I was typing my response. It felt like all the hate I’ve been hearing had stored up inside me and I was now flinging it back at an easy target. It was not my proudest moment. So how do you keep from absorbing that energy? Pandora radio is even airing political ads now! Arghhh!

  2. Heather says:

    Hear! Hear!

  3. Michelle O'Neil says:

    Kathy, I hear you. The option of “unsubscribing” from a person’s updates is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

  4. Thank you for your wise words. I admit to expending far too much energy toward fighting — albeit with words — my intent not so much violence as desperate self-righteousness. Sigh. Thank you again for reminding me of my heart.

  5. GB's Mom says:

    We need more people to refuse to buy into the hateful rhetoric.

  6. Carrie Link says:

    I am this close to not going on Facebook until after the election.

  7. Kathee says:


  8. Bickie says:

    I live in Minneapolis and we have had our “VOTE NO” (to oppose the marriage amendment) signs stolen from our yard on two occasions. Our street of 17 houses had 8 signs (two mine) and a week ago 3 were stolen (again, two were mine) I replaced one of mine and someone else added one, so we were at 7. Last night 6 were taken (one mine.) What is wrong with people?

  9. Chris V. says:

    Say it sister!!!!

  10. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Michelle, thank you for this clarion call to root out racism wherever we find it! Peace.

  11. Alexis Yael says:

    Thank you for this reminder!

  12. Meg says:

    I am always at a loss to understand how people I know to be otherwise good and decent folk, align themselves with politicians and causes that are not at all good and decent. I try to ponder how they could have come to that “side.” I don’t know that I will ever understand, so I try to live out my own political mantra, (apologies to Bill Clinton) “It’s about LOVE, stupid!”

  13. kario says:

    Amen! It is hard not to succumb to the righteous indignation and feel the pull of that power, but it’s so important to see it for what it is – giving power to what we don’t want. Thank you for the reminder.

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