A Response to Election 2016


(Editor’s note: Parts of this blog were originally posted on November 10 by Humanity Project Founder, Bob Knotts, on his personal Facebook page. This blog was adapted for use by the Humanity Project.)

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” A brilliant idea brilliantly expressed and attributed to Mark Twain. To me, the new historical rhyme is the swing to the right worldwide. In a different way it has happened before. Today we see the right’s appeal in the Philippines and Colombia, in Austria and Russia, in nations great and small around the planet.

And now here in the United States. Historians will write books about the reasons for this: wars and poverty that created tides of immigration, diminishing resources in wealthier countries that stirred fears and resentments, a failing sense of self-value among people who felt privileged by color and place of birth … We may be in for more of this rightward swing before we have less and perhaps we will endure many challenging days. With Mr. Twain, I think it’s simply the great rhyme of history. But from my perspective, history shows us something else: Humanity is fundamentally decent. In time, through whatever means, basic human values win out.

By law, the Humanity Project is non-political. We are a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization whose mission under federal statute is educational and literary. So we offer no position on the outcome of the election. As a nonprofit, we could officially root for no one for president or any other office.

But we can say this much here: Many are deeply troubled by the election for a variety of reasons. And these reasons include the national mood, the disrespectful and contentious tone of public discourse. To those folks I want to offer a thought. We are part of a movement now. We are the keepers of humanity’s best, the individuals appointed to live those basic human values in our daily lives, despite everything and anything.

When I founded the Humanity Project 11 years ago almost to this day, I had in mind a movement of people who believed in the innate greatness of every individual — and found practical ways to encourage that belief in others. That’s still my vision, expressed through programs for children. And so I see history’s latest right-wing verse as an opportunity, a fresh opening to advance the cause of this organization and of all who believe in humanity. The Humanity Project can be seen now as just one part of “the humanity project,” (lower case) to represent the efforts of everyone in this movement. I hope more folks will join The Humanity Project as an outlet for their efforts toward these goals. And I hope that more of us use this election to summon a greater determination to become part of “the humanity project.” In the words of another great American writer, William Faulkner: “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” So do I.