Being nice has become a challenge. I see it in myself, those around me, on television, and in the social media milieu. COVID-19, state/local shutdowns/restrictions, economic tumult, our annualized election cacophony, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, fires in the far West, overt social injustice, rioting, and attacks on peace officers. What’s next, a plague of locusts? We need nice.
COVID-19 is real. Some may deny and that is their right; however, in exercising that right, they don’t have the entitlement to put me at risk. Masks and social distancing are simple health protections, not polarizing political positions. What is lost by wearing a mask and staying 6 feet from me? These are demonstrations of your respect for my wellbeing. No one, other than perhaps Batman, likes wearing a mask. Today, science affirms masks can keep us healthy. Be nice to those who may not be as convinced, or be nice to those who are firmly convinced.
No governor, mayor, or federal official awakens in the morning saying. “What can I do to make my constituency’s lives miserable today?” Government officials are trying to do right on behalf of those for whom they are responsible, based on the information available. Protesting lockdowns, restrictions, and modifications, are all absolutely an exercise of rights. Just maintain social distance and masking when doing so. Be nice when doing so.
Millions of Americans are out of work. The economic crunch has traumatically effected the service and hospitality industries. Unemployment is high and there is no positive spin to this reality. Wanting to return to normal, doesn’t mean we are ready to return to normal. Be nice about it.
Election season is not nice. Want to maintain friendships? Then don’t talk about politics or religion (and maybe baseball). The “other side” doesn’t hate our country/state/county/town. We simply don’t see the world with the same lens. They simply don’t see the right course of governance being what we may believe. Disagreement doesn’t require hostility. Work to understand, not necessarily agree, with the opposition’s viewpoint, and be nice about it.
George Floyd’s death remains ever-present. Other unarmed Black men have also been brutalized in the hands of police and been captured on film. Protests continue, though not as strong as early in the summer. Unfortunately, some protests and demonstrations have devolved into rioting and looting. A protest is noble, rioting is deplorable. Don’t lose the message in the mess. Black Lives Matter. Be firm, be determined, deliver the message, but you can still be nice.
Recent attacks on law enforcement officers cannot be rationalized, legitimized, or tolerated. Attacks on those who are charged with protecting and serving are also attacks on us. Yes, there are officers who have done wrong and warrant justice. However, these acts of violence do not enhance any cause and only diminish the message. Be nice is an understatement.
Dionne Warwick sang the famous verse: What the world needs now, is love, sweet love/ It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” We may not achieve love, but I would settle for nice. Today, more than any era in my lifetime, what the world needs now is for all of us to be nice.