I know it’s my first time writing for this publication, and it’s probably not appropriate to break one of those universal rules, but I’m going to break it anyway because this issue needs to be addressed.
This election year has been a divisive time in our country’s history. I have never seen such hatred thrown from both sides of the aisle before. I have never witnessed people near to me fight as aggressively as they did this year. I have never watched so many people break off ties with each other until this year’s election where the tension caused human connections to be severed.
This election cycle was the year of many firsts. Some may say it’s for the worse, and some may say it’s for the better, but there is one first that we can all agree must never happen: the suspension of the golden rule.
From a young age, we were all taught to be kind to each other and to treat people how we want to be treated. As time went on and we grew up, we stopped being preached this golden rule and had to bear the responsibility of reminding ourselves of this important moral standard. Unfortunately, for all the attempts made to drill it into our brain, this rule occasionally drifted away from our priorities to make room for other thoughts and information and consequently became a mere afterthought.
No matter what side of politics you’re on, you can’t deny the facts. In the past two months, hate crimes have been on the rise. In the last year, hate speech and outward and public hatred towards minorities have been normalized.
Reports from government officials and nonpartisan institutions support this unfortunate truth. According to a civil rights panel, Michigan has seen an increase in hate crimes by 65 times after the presidential election. According to the New York Police Department, New York has seen an increase of 115 percent, particularly among Jews. Regardless of how you feel about the media, these factual reports can’t be dismissed as corruption and lies from the media.
I will not point fingers or accuse anyone of causing these horrific hate crimes. After all, no one person is directly committing these acts of hate. No one person is drawing swastikas on people’s cars. No one person is verbally abusing an NYPD officer and shoving her son because she is Muslim. No one person is murdering innocent people because of their ethnicity or religion.
Whatever the reason may be for this spike in hate crimes, we must not sit idly by and tolerate this. We must speak out against these crimes and support our fellow human beings. No matter how our views and beliefs differ from each other, we must all join hand-in-hand for peace, tolerance, and justice for all.
We must reassert the golden rule, regardless of our differences, and treat everyone how we want to be treated, treat every person like a human being with their own families, struggles, emotions, and above all us, their inalienable rights. No one should be denied the most basic human rights based on their ethnicity, gender, or religion. We can’t categorize groups of people, label them with a few different aspects, and establish stereotypes. We can’t justify the limitation of human rights based on the extremists who just so happen to share a commonality with a certain group. This goes against the very ideals and foundation of this country.
If we tell our children to follow the golden rule, so should we. Just because we are older and far away from our kindergarten teachers who reiterated this rule far more often than we can count, it does not mean that the rule no longer applies to us.
I implore you to reestablish this golden rule, which is extremely underestimated for its power and truth. Those simple words, however insignificant they may seem, are fundamental to how this nation should run and how its people should act. This isn’t about party lines; this is about morals. During this holiday season and the start of the new year, I hope that we can reestablish the golden rule and continue to give and receive kindness in the years to come.