Like so many other people, I cried during the inauguration of Biden and Harris. It was about the humanity, the diversity, the joy, the compassion, the commitment to serving the people, the listening. All of that. And more.
The music, the cultures, the celebration of what can be. I daresay hope.
But let's face it. There was a much bigger reason why this felt like such a relief. It was the absence of violence.
For the past four years, the White House has been the force of violence in so many ways. The anger, the attacks, the bigotry, the emotional manipulation. And that's just in words. The policies coming out of these words were even worse. How the White House acted towards kids at the border. towards people of color, towards women seeking reproductive services, towards European allies, towards the diplomatic corps, towards Muslims, towards Jews, towards liberals, towards reporters, towards loyal government workers.... violence, violence, violence. These past four years have normalized violence at every turn.
The millions of people who followed the 45th president mimicked his every move. They follow his words, his behaviors, and his lies. I know because as Vice Chair for Media and Policy at Democrats Abroad Israel, I often found myself up against Trump supporters on radio and television. They acted and sounded exactly like him. They hung on his every word. In essence, the past four years groomed millions of Americans in how to be violent and abusive.
But they lost the election. So the Inauguration was a huge relief. A huge relief. Hope, that non-violent personal communication will return. It is already returning to the WH Press Briefing room. And Biden has told all his staff that kindness matters, that anyone found to be acting in a bullying way will be summarily fired. He said that. And you see him acting in a caring way. He is committed to this in a very deep way. To gutting the emotional and verbal violence. We are on the way.
But the path is far from over. The hard part now is going to be the deprogramming. Teaching EVERYONE what non-violent communication looks like. That is the core aspect of the healing that lays ahead.
Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman is a feminist thought-leader, anthropologist, and writer whose research and ideas help shape a vision for a compassionate society. She has published five books on gender in society, and today helps women amplify their own voices and find their power through Lioness Booksand Media. She coaches women through the writing process, edits, and ghost-writes women's books, and publishes women's writing through Lioness. She also speaks and consults with groups and organizations around the world on gender issues and women's experiences in the world. Would you like to schedule a chat? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org