I have a new campaign to start, vitally important and guaranteed to make a difference. It doesn’t need politicians to make it happen. It needs me. And it needs you. I want to help Make Minnesota Nice Again.
Remember that? People from other places would come here and say the people are so nice. We smile at strangers. We let people in line ahead of us. We say please and thank-you.
Of course, that was all before Facebook. And before the 2016 election. I am seeing a lot of nice Minnesotans—at least people who are nice when I’m face to face—not being very nice right now on social media platforms.
The election is over, but both sides of the aisle continue to scream and condemn and fear and judge and do no earthly good as far as I can see. Maybe they feel better for saying what they say, but they sure don’t make anybody else feel better.
If you are happy with the election, are you really going to gloat for four years? If you’re unhappy, are you really going to give the person you despise so much power over you that you’d allow him to steal your joy and hope? I don’t think you should.
But I can’t control you. I can only control me. And I want to start helping to Make Minnesota Nice Again.
Here’s my plan:
- I will not post political comments on social media. (this is actually not for me because I generally don’t do this, but maybe a little hint for those who do.) I decided long ago that social media and politics don’t seem to mix well.
- I will look for at least one person every day who is missing their smile and give them one of mine. If possible, I will perform an act of kindness for that person or maybe even engage in conversation and tell them I hope they find some joy today.
- I will be intentional about learning to talk with others about topics we may find difficult. I will say things like, “I think a little differently on that topic than you do. Tell me more about your thoughts on that.” And then I will listen. Just listen. Not to wait for an opportunity to tell them why they are wrong or what I think, but just to learn how someone else thinks. Maybe they will want to hear why I think the way I do. Maybe they won’t. I will still be better off for having made the effort to understand more.
- I will challenge myself daily to not label people, and I will not presume it is my job to speak on behalf of any group “labeled” by others—even groups of which I am a part.
- When I find myself frustrated by how people behave (really, really easy to do right now), I’m going to stop and say a prayer for them instead of judging, criticizing, condemning, or complaining.
I think there are more things I can do for my campaign to Make Minnesota Nice Again, but this is a start.
Ice cream, anyone?
I told a friend about my idea to start this campaign and he said, “You should have an ice cream social and serve Good Humor Ice Cream.” I’m kind of digging this idea. If I had an ice cream social where we could practice Minnesota Nice together, would you come? Let me know if you’re interested and I will try to find a place where we could have this.
I knew coming out of this election that half of the country would be bummed out, no matter what. But none of us are entitled to never be bummed out. Sometimes it’s one person’s turn, sometimes it’s another. Everyone had a 50/50 chance on Tuesday (well, except third-party-candidate supporters). Everyone has to choose how long or how hard they will let it affect them. I kind of have a feeling it might be a while for a lot of people.
Please hear me: I am not trying to dismiss anyone’s pain, but this is the UpSide. It’s where we look in the mirror and ask “Is what I am doing working?” If you are shouting and the shouting around you is just getting louder, maybe it’s time to stop shouting and start talking—whether our leaders stop shouting or not.
But I’m only in charge of me, and while we wait to see how this is going to turn out, I’m really going to put some effort into this nice thing. Right here in Minnesota. If you’re not from here, you can do it where you are.
Let me know if you want ice cream and if you want to be part of my campaign.