I feel so upset that I have had to use those 4 words so much lately. It seems like it should be simple. Be Kind. Two words and you have a pretty decent guide to life. Not perfect, because nothing ever is. Situations are often complex, but for the most part if you are about to do something and you think to yourself “is this kind?” and can answer “yes” then you’re probably doing okay. You’re thinking of other people, you’re considering feelings,  you’re trying to empathize with others. It’s when we stop being kind that it all goes to shit.

It’s only Wednesday, and already this week I’ve seen a woman chased, if not out of my industry, out of a part of it she loves (loved?) with all her heart by people who think it’s okay to seek not the smartest and most talented people to work with, but the “hottest”. I’ve seen a very public breakup involve a woman’s entire industry, question her integrity and that of multiple others, and result in her whole family being harassed by complete strangers who assume that it’s their place to inform her of her lack of worth as a human being. And I’ve seen advice for what to do when confronted with unsolicited explicit pictures of mens penises being texted to me, because that is apparently a Thing, now.

I’ve seen the forces that are supposed to protect me gassing my neighbors, arresting the very people who exist to oversee them and keep us all abreast of important matters, and in general behaving the very opposite that anyone would expect them to. I’ve seen pictures of a man about to die because he had the temerity to document events in a far-off land. I’ve seen people actually have to say, “please don’t post the video of his beheading”. I’ve seen a woman mourning her father get harassed till she had to withdraw completely, in the time that she needs love and support most.

And every time, I’m left sharing the story, and re-iterating. This. Is. Not. Okay. It is not kind. It is not compassionate. It is not forgiving. I shouldn’t have to say that objectifying the women in your community is not okay. I shouldn’t have to say that, even if someone’s personal life is an huge dumpster fire, publishing her personal information online and calling and harassing her and her family is not okay. I shouldn’t have to say that sending someone photos of your genitals is not okay. I shouldn’t have to say abusing people you’ve sworn to protect is not okay. I shouldn’t have to say that inflicting the violent death of a man on unsuspecting viewers is not okay. I shouldn’t have to say taunting a woman because her father killed himself is not okay.

And yet, here I am. So, lest anyone be confused, let me say it one more time. This. Is. Not. Okay. Please, Be Kind.