Tag Archives: democray

From Toxicity to Kindness

The 2018 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year was announced and it is, you guessed it, toxic.

Not a new word, but a word with a whole new embodiment of meaning. “The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance. Our data shows that, along with a 45% rise in the number of times it has been looked up on oxforddictionaries.com, over the last year the word toxic has been used in an array of contexts, both in its literal and more metaphorical senses.”

Among the top collocates to toxic in 2018 … toxic masculinity, toxic relationship, toxic culture. As I said in a recent interview, “We all know that toxicity is not good for us.” And yet it spreads, oozing out and choking our happiness like the fog of a group of looming dementors.

But we have a choice my friends. We can be kind, in our relationships, our words, our interactions, our ways of living. Every moment presents a choice. Let’s choose to be kind! Our very democracy and social fabric may depend upon our choices.

Sounds simple, but sometimes the most answers to the most complicated problems are the kind ones.

Global Sisters Report: Where my Election Officer & Sister Worlds Collide

My most recent column on Global Sisters Report is proof that while you can take the girl out of the city elections office, you can’t take the city elections officer out of the girl, even when she takes the unlikely step of becoming a Catholic Sister.  You see, not only am I the daughter of a local elected official, before I entered religious life I spent eleven years working in local government myself, eight of those years as City Elections officer in Portland, Oregon.

Democracy is important to me, and truth be told, I’m more than a little worried about the state of ours. So, with election day almost upon us, I reflected on elections and decision making through my Sister lens.

The decisions that we make together matter, especially decisions that impact the common good and our future. This is something that I firmly believe. It is why I take my right to vote, earned through the literal blood, sweat and tears of my foremothers, very seriously. Yet I also can’t help wondering, especially after another election season filled with negative campaign ads and outrageous corporate spending . . . is our system broken? Is there another way we could be doing this? …

Truth be told, I don’t really know what we can do about our current political system other than show up, speak out and act for the common good and the needs of those on the margins, always with respect and integrity. I think this is part of the great popular appeal of NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus efforts. Yes, people enjoy the novelty of nuns rolling around on a campaign-style bus in the great tradition of whistle stop tours. But even more, I think people who are really paying attention appreciate the way the Nuns on the Bus and their supporters engage the issues respectfully and with a common heart.

So what would it be like if the rest of the world made decisions the way that sisters do? I have to believe that the world would be at least a little bit kinder, gentler and focused on the common good.

Read the whole column over at Global Sisters Report.

And if you are lucky enough to have the right to vote, please make sure to exercise that right.

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson, Creative Commons 2.0
Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson, Creative Commons 2.0