Commentary: Will love truly trump hate?

This Saturday, the day after Trump’s inauguration, The Women’s March is attracting masses of women and men to marches in Washington, D.C., in every state in the union and in nearly 60 countries around the world. Could this be the silver lining to Donald Trump’s election? Is this evidence that the message of hate has not overcome the power of love?

Having spent years counseling victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, I know what hate looks and feels like. I know how it corrodes the soul and fills the body with toxic energy. I know how it can seep into our being and seem to take over. And, I know, and often experienced, the power of love to cleanse the mind, heart, body and spirit from this powerful, poisonous force. By consciously breathing in the energy of the word “love,” I could return to and maintain a state of peace on all levels.

Having felt all of this, I knew, saw and experienced the hate as I watched the Republican National Convention this summer. Particularly distressing were women chanting, in a seeming hypnotic state, “lock her up.” The apparent joy on their faces belied the punitive, hate-filled nature of their chant.

From my experience, I also understood the power and potential of the Democratic National Convention’s slogan – “Love Trumps Hate.” It drew on the core belief of the Christian faith, that love conquers all. Not that it would necessarily assure the election of Hillary Clinton, but that, with enough people committed to love and goodwill, the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican candidate – “lock her up,” “kick them out,” “beat them up” – would be rejected. But it wouldn’t be easy.

During the campaign, we saw that hate is a powerful tool for manipulation. It lures people with fear – for example insisting that all Muslims are potentially dangerous. It stirs people’s anger with false stories, such as accusing Hillary Clinton of running a child pornography syndicate. It singles out those who are different, i.e. skin color, physical handicap and sexual preference, and makes them deserving targets.

Now that Trump has been elected, does it mean that “hate” has won. I don’t believe so. In fact, his election may offer an unanticipated opportunity. That opportunity can be found in a huge global movement working as a counterforce to hate and destruction of the planet and each other.

Chinese wisdom tells us that crisis offers both danger and opportunity. One should be alert to danger but choose to seek out opportunity.

Paul Hawken, in his book “Blessed Unrest,” and Joanna Macy, in her book “Active Hope,” might point the way for us. Macy describes what she calls the Great Turning comparing it in significance to the Industrial Revolution. Hawken documents what he calls “the greatest social movement in history” and refers to it as the Earth’s immune system functioning to return the Earth and its people to a relationship of mutual compassion and caring. Evidence of this movement can be found in the proliferation of low tech inventions designed to meet human needs while protecting the environment. Events and movements such as the women’s marches also serve as examples of this social force toward good. A women’s march is being held in Woodstock beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Food Lion parking lot.

Donald Trump may unwittingly be growing this movement as people reject his message of hate. Our individual choice to become part of the Great Turning may ultimately determine whether love can truly trump hate.

Laura Crites is a Mount Jackson resident.