Safety Pin

The common safety pin has become an emblem in Europe to signify compassion and caring for immigrants and minorities. There, as here since the election, angry insults and harassment have terrorized people singled out because of their cultural and ethnic origins.Safety Pin Meme

Safety Pin Meme

One aspect of the political divide in the US is tolerance vs. intolerance. It shows up among liberals as the quest to foster diversity and multiculturalism.  On the right it shows up as a demand for other cultures to assimilate, to adopt the norms and values of “regular people” in the community. Unfortunately sometimes it also shows up as bigotry and verbal abuse.

In the best of Bucks County schools there have been incidents. Teachers I know report that students are afraid. Kids are sensitive to the moods of their parents, and they hear more in adult conversation than we think. Even when too young to understand fully, they get and internalize the fear, or anger, or resentment or the hate.

They have seen the TV coverage and ads during the campaign. The man who will soon be President has been modeling behavior and values that nobody wants their kids to emulate.  A great many adults are angry, frightened, and grieving.

The safety pin is an emblem for compassion and solidarity with enlightened citizenship. Its very name “safety” embodies the message. Its function, to link things together, is an apolitical statement of human unity.

I’m promoting the wearing of the pin as a symbol of unification and solidarity behind common principles that transcend nationality and religion and, yes, even political affiliation. Empathy, mutual support, and loving one’s neighbor without exceptions are core values shared by the great faiths and nations.  Cultures that don’t uphold them perish.

The antidote for fear is love and faith. The vehicle for reconciliation is civil discourse. For America to be great we must respect all people, challenge ideas, and denounce hatred.