Recently one of my team members posted in our internal forum about pride of South India where most of our team is from even though we are multi cultural – We have 4 different nationals, speak 10 different languages etc. Well, I was born in South India but I could not quite resonate with the message because for me, any pride is a sign of ego, symptom of separation & division… To be honest, any identification is a limitation for me. You weren’t always a Hindu or an American or a Royal or any other identification you have for yourself in this life time. As a being, you would have been many nationals, spoken different languages and followed numerous religions in the past lives and would do so in future life times. Aren’t we all infinite beings with no definition or label? When one starts defining who they are, they are making themselves finite and start creating limitations instead of infinite possibilities.
When identification with any dogma or a group kicks in, unintentionally, they might be moving into divisiveness in order to defend the rightness of the dogma or points of view the group holds. Divisiveness leads to hostility and hate. There is nothing more dangerous than hate!
It has been my concern that in the recent times, the world seems to be choosing leaders who divide people using nationalism, religion, race etc. For a change, at least the entertainment world has created an amazing fictional leader called Elizabeth McCord for the series Madam Secretary. I so admire the characterization and the screen play that at least once in every episode my eyes tear up simply because of the vision of oneness and kindness this character portrays. I was so inspired by one of the speeches MSec made in Series 5 and hunted down the transcript. I truly wish this reaches as many people as possible to make at least a tiny fraction of the audience realize that how hate is more dangerous than nuclear weapon. Here it is:
“Thank you, Prime Minister Khatri and Prime Minister Wadeyla. (fictional characters)
Your courage and determination have made humankind safer from the second greatest threat it faces. What is an even greater threat than nuclear weapons? That which makes the use of them possible. Hate.
Specifically, the blind hatred one group or nation can have for another. And that is why I am convinced that nationalism is the existential threat of our time.
I want to be clear. Nationalism is not the same as patriotism. It’s a perversion of patriotism. Nationalism, the belief system held by those who attacked us, promotes the idea that inclusion and diversity represent weakness, that the only way to succeed is to give blind allegiance to the supremacy of one race over all others. Nothing could be less American.
Patriotism, on the other hand, is about building each other up and embracing our diversity as the source of our nation’s strength. “We the People” means all the people. America’s heroes didn’t die for race or region. They died for the ideals enshrined in our Constitution.
Above all, freedom from tyranny, which requires our unwavering support of a free press, freedom of religion all religions the right to vote, and making sure nothing infringes on any of those rights, which belong to us all.
Look where isolationism has gotten us in the past. Two world wars. 70 million dead.
Never again can we go back to those dark times when fear and hatred, like a contagion, infected the world. That, as much as ending the threat of nuclear war, is what today is about. And it’s why we must never lose sight of our common humanity, our common values, and our common decency.
I was reminded recently of our nation’s founding motto, e pluribus unum.
Out of many, one.
13 disparate colonies became one country, one people. And, today, we call on all Americans and people everywhere to reject the scourge of nationalism. Because governments can’t legislate tolerance or eradicate hate. That’s why each one of us has to find the beauty in our differences instead of the fear.
Listen instead of reacting.
Reach out instead of recoiling.
It’s up to us.
All of us.
– Nirmala Raju