Actions Speak Louder Than Kindness Initiatives
It’s essential our leaders admit wrongdoing, and that we establish a legislatively supported agreement to never, ever repeat the disaster that was the pandemic response.
On April 12, 2022 Utah Governor Spencer Cox declared April 12, “One Kind Act a Day Day.” The initiative, established by the Semnani Family Foundation, is a great idea. The kickoff event was attended by Gov. Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, and community leaders. It was covered on the news, applauded, and supported by various religious leaders in the community.
Like all of you, I’m in favor of performing a kind act each day, or even better, just trying to be consistently kind as a way of living. However, I’m not very inspired by this kindness initiative. Why not? Because it is being promoted by the same people who, for the past two years, have pushed ideologies and actions on me that I don’t agree with, by appealing to kindness, community responsibility, and helping people “feel comfortable. “
The initiative feels a bit like a diversion. “I know we took away your worship services, in-person schooling, holiday celebrations, funerals, weddings, family gatherings, graduations, extracurricular activities, income opportunities, businesses, and bodily autonomy over these past two years. Plus we used fear and manipulation to gain your compliance, but let’s just hold hands and forget all that.” Sort of like a scenario where you take away a child’s entire bucketful of Halloween candy, but expect them to forget because you give them back one piece. Out of sight, out of mind. That might work for a two-year-old, but hopefully won’t work for a whole society that has been damaged by overreaching government and public health leaders during the pandemic.
With this kindness initiative, Mayor Mendenhall laments the vitriol in the world, pointing to the criticism Governor Cox recently received for listing his preferred pronouns “he/him/his” in a virtual town hall video in April 2021. The video resurfaced in March of this year, after Cox vetoed Utah HB11, which preserves Title IX by requiring transgender athletes to compete with those of their biological sex, rather than those of their gender identity.
Gov. Cox says kindness is “the most radical political philosophy that has ever existed.” In vetoing HB11, Cox stated, “I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt, however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion.” Sounds nice, except it’s not. “Be kind!” we say to girls who are losing competitions, medals, and possibly scholarships to a small, but growing, number of transgender athletes entering women’s sports, not to mention their locker rooms. (Refer to my March 24, 2022 post, “Words Matter.”).
The idea of being kind is not radical; it is as innate to human behavior as is cruelty – two sides of a coin. Nor is kindness limited to one political party, social ideology, race, religion, or culture. What is a little more unusual, and less innate, is to show kindness in the face of ill treatment. That’s the kind of “radical kindness” that Jesus Christ taught; it certainly isn’t what we see in the radical woke
For example, it is radical to deny the reality of there being two sexes in the world - male and female - because this is an established biological fact and is not up for serious debate. However, in New York, failure to provide checkboxes for NY’s 31 different gender identities on official documents, or to call employees by their preferred pronouns, can result in up to a six-figure fine. Forced speech is a violation of free speech.
The Salt Lake Tribune summarizes Mayor Mendenhall’s comments at the kickoff for One Kind Act a Day as follows: “The country is at a place of decision-making. The wrong choice will keep people on a course of hatred, cynicism and even the demise of democracy, while the right one – kindness – can recenter humanity.” That would resonate with me more if I hadn’t just experienced the past two years. More essential than kindness, when it comes to governance, is respect for First Amendment rights.
I hear quite a bit from woke progressives about being kind, being inclusive, doing the right thing, and being considerate. But then they accuse those who don’t fully see it their way of being insensitive, uneducated, racist, misogynistic, or something-phobic, and they attempt to force compliance.
Let’s not forget The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board’s eerie Nazi-like op-ed published on January 15, 2022. The Trib board called for the forced Covid vaccination of every citizen, and for deploying the National Guard to ensure that unvaccinated people would not be allowed “anywhere.” How appalling that the editorial board of this major Utah newspaper called for force and cruelty, rather than for legitimate dialogue on the issues.
To our misfortune, The Trib wasn’t that different during the pandemic from most established media. As stated by psychiatrist and author Dr. Mark McDonald, “The media failed to do its job. The media failed to provide objective accurate reporting and information. They picked and chose information that helped to ensure obedience with government mandates. That’s essentially all that they did for over two years.”
Gov. Cox on August 3, 2021 was asked if Utah would follow New York in requiring proof of vaccination to engage in public life. Cox said that Covid vaccinations would not be mandated by the Utah government, but that wouldn’t prevent employers or event organizers from requiring them - hint hint. He also stated, “I’m really tired. I’m really done with it. And I’m not real excited to have to sacrifice to protect someone who doesn’t seem to care.” What came through the filter, “I’m tired of dealing with people who don’t see things the way I do; they don’t care about others.”
One month later on September 9 Pres. Joe Biden issued a sweeping national vaccine mandate. “The vast majority of Americans are doing the right things,” said Biden, but “the unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals…[and are] making people sick.” He said he could understand why the vaccinated were so angry with the unvaccinated, and threatened, “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.” I didn’t feel any kindness coming from Gov. Cox or Pres. Biden, but I did notice their heavy-handed use of terms like “the right thing,” without providing one shred of scientific evidence to back their positions.
While Biden’s mandates work their way through the lawsuits filed by people finding their civil liberties (and the Nuremburg Code) being violated, Omicron has been working its way through the world’s population. Just about everyone in the spotlight from Whoopi Goldberg to Queen Elizabeth got Covid, even though they were supposedly “being good.” Every one of us knows multiple people, fully vaccinated and even boosted, who still became infected with Covid. The argument about “less severe symptoms and hospitalizations if vaccinated,” does not hold up under scrutiny of the data.
What does it mean when people are taught to doubt the evidence of their own eyes, discount their own experiences, ignore documented facts, and are forced to say things they don’t believe? Is it gaslighting? Is it brainwashing? Is it mass formation psychosis? Or is it just an attempt to bring people into compliance “for the greater good”? I guess we can leave the definitions up for debate, but the tactics employed don’t belong in the free world.
From the inappropriate official Covid response, to the redefinition of words surrounding gender and race issues, we see constant attacks on rational thought, and the erosion of accepted universal truths and values. Government and public health leaders justified their totalitarian response to Covid through phrases such as, “studies show,” “follow the science,” and “do the right thing.” Compliance was visible. Non-compliance was punishable by fines and confinement; social shunning of the non-compliant was encouraged.
The United States of America, long revered as a melting pot of cultures and ideas, is devolving into intolerance, and tyranny by the minority. The current erosion of civil society is cloaked in terms of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The smothering of free speech and differing viewpoints is accomplished partly through Critical Race Theory-shaming (CRT) and a demand to “just listen and learn.” The Green New Deal purports to innocuously and responsibly save the environment, while militantly harming industries that provide thousands of jobs, and millions of people with low-cost heating and fuel. The old failed Marxism masquerades under the new guises of CRT, DEI, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives. And it’s all being taught to our children in public schools and universities, and forced onto adults via Human Resource departments and mandatory trainings.
Senior attorneys are being bullied in law firms by woke junior partners for defending the rule of law, instead of engaging in social activism. https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/the-takeover-of-americas-legal-system?s=r Professors and teachers are being driven out for refusing government mandated speech in the form of "preferred pronouns.” https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jordan-peterson-why-i-am-no-longer-a-tenured-professor-at-the-university-of-toronto Much needed military personnel, emergency responders, and medical professionals are being fired for refusing to take the Covid jab. Public school teachers are being trained to raise up social activists, rather than to educate. Militant LGBTQ activists harass corporations, resulting in misplaced activism such as Disney vowing to fight Florida’s HB1557 because it prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in K-3 grades.
It’s all a call to wake up!! So while the One Kind Act a Day initiative is a lovely concept, and we could certainly use more acts of kindness in this world, the initiative feels suspect to me because of who is promoting it, and what they haven’t yet done. These leaders have failed to take responsibility for a Covid response that harmed every Utahn, and they are promoting LGBTQ and activist race issues in a divisive, coercive manner.
When Erin Mendenhall says an act of kindness could be as simple as to “just smile at someone,” I’m reminded that she kept public schools closed, and mandated the covering of everybody’s smiles in K-12 (and throughout Salt Lake City), longer than any other mayor in the state of Utah. When Governor Cox talks about being kind, I’m reminded of his vocal intolerance toward the unvaccinated, and his willingness to be “kind” to a minority at the expense of all female athletes in Utah.
I watched the initiative video, “What Does Kindness Mean to Me.” It contains clips from various Utahns, prominent and not. There are some nice parts in it, but the words Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion make an appearance. Look at the t-shirt on the earnest science teacher who feels her job as an educator is to teach her students to be kind. Notice Dr. Angela Dunn, saying that kindness is the antidote to suffering in times of chaos, uncertainty, and despair. Yet she herself created so much of the recent suffering of Utahns through her tone deaf and unscientific push for multiple masks mandates, lockdowns, and restrictions. Notice all the references in the video to smiles, and think about the literally millions of faces, let alone smiles, that were forcibly covered in Utah for months.
So while I support the concept of the One Kind Act a Day initiative, I’m still waiting for some of that kindness and inclusion that they’re going on about. There needs to be an apology for all the harm they’ve caused by unnecessarily closing businesses, schools, and churches, limiting people’s contact with each other, and strong-arming Utahns into face masks for months on end, all without scientific data to back their decisions. And they need to lay off the CRT/DEI/SDG/ESG madness that is sweeping society.
We are no longer in an “I do me, and you do you,” world. We are in a world of “I do me, and you do what I tell you to support me, or you are canceled.” Everyone who is concerned about this needs to push back in ways big and small.
It’s essential our leaders admit wrongdoing, and that we establish a legislatively supported agreement to never, ever repeat the disaster that was the pandemic response. It’s also essential that we turn from Woke back toward Live and Let Live. Until these two things happen, I feel that there is a hollowness (and some pretty serious virtue signaling, on the part of some) at the heart of the One Kind Act a Day initiative.
Edited for clarity 04-27-22