From now until at least the midterm elections in November, we’ll be featuring essays from powerful cultural voices alongside one simple thing, chosen by the author, that you can do to take action against the paralyzing apoplexy of the daily news. Maybe it’ll be an organization that deserves your donation; maybe it’ll be an issue that deserves greater awareness. Whatever it is, our aim is to remind you, and ourselves, of the big and small things we can do to work toward justice and change.

- - -

Against the Contagion of Hatred
by Ada Limón

I commit to take action because I want to believe in a good world again. Every day something reminds me that we are being ruled by a man, by men, by politicians filled with hatred. Their hatred must feel so large within them. It must swell up and feel like power. Their hatred must feel like strength or something like deification. I wonder what it would be like to walk around with so much hatred. Their hatred must feed them, clothe them, must feel like safety and warmth. Their hatred must unite them, must feel like friendship, kinship. It must feel even like love. Their hatred must move through them like a bolt of energy, must ignite them to anoint others with their hatred. What must it be like to feast on rage daily, to believe your hatred is righteous, God-given, to feel blessed with hatred?

It’s contagious. Hatred. It’s poison and it infiltrates not just our bodies and our minds, but the rivers and the trees and the land around us. How do we move in this world where hatred has been given so much power, where hatred has named us, called us illegal or called us invisible, told us we do not matter, do not have the right to control our own bodies, do not have the right to love whom we want to love? Hatred tells us we do not know what the truth is anymore. It has become our hissing national language. It has become our flag and our mantra.

I cannot match the hatred with more hatred. I will not meet flame with fire. I want something different for our future, something I cannot yet imagine but can feel its possibility. I can at least love that possibility, a world we’ve yet to build.

- - -

Take action today:

Commit to vote in November.

- - -

Ada Limón is the author of five books of poetry. Her most recent book, The Carrying, was called her “best yet” by the Washington Post.