Valentine’s Day in a time of unrest | Editorial

Valentine’s Day in a time of unrest | Editorial

It’s a national holiday to express affection for those you care about.

Romantic partners, parents, children and friends send heart emojis and flowers, eat chocolate cake and pen sweet sentiments on Valentine’s Day.

In this edition of the Sounder, you can read about an incredible love story between two sailors, what local businesses are offering to make the day special and upcoming island events.

With all this talk of love, I can’t help but think of all those who feel very unloved — by our current government, by those who spew hate, by those who preach intolerance to anyone who is different.

A black, gay actor was the victim of a horrific hate crime last week. While hitting him, pouring bleach on his head and looping a noose around his neck, assailants reportedly yelled their allegiance to President Trump.

Around 800,000 federal workers went two pay periods without paychecks after a 35-day government shutdown that ended on Jan 25. The reason for the closure: Trump didn’t get buy-in to build a $5.7 billion wall on the southern border. Another shutdown is looming. The repercussions of an unstable government are far-reaching.

If you think those two recent examples of state affairs have no significance here in our corner of the United States, you are very wrong.

There is a great deal of good happening in this world. But we cannot ignore the dark, ugly current of hatred that is gaining momentum. It’s here, in this great nation, and it cannot win. Spread love wherever you go; stand up to bigotry; don’t stay silent.

I am using Valentine’s Day as a reminder to always choose love. For me, that means being understanding of people who may have a different view, but also not keeping my mouth shut in the face of what is wrong on a basic human level. That means speaking up when I hear a joke that is “borderline” sexist or racist. That means confronting a bully. That means saying if I’m uncomfortable by another’s actions.

If I can extend kindness to one stranger every day – in a warm hello, in helping carry groceries, in a shared laugh – it’s a moment when love has won.