Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
You matter more than you did on November 7, 2016—regardless of how you voted. Not your money. Not your status. Not even your education. You. The spotlight is on you—which is to say—you, me, him, her, they. Each person.
Some of you can relate to times when you could go get your big brother or sister to stand up for you when you felt overwhelmed. Many of us have sat back and let others defend us or our values.
On Veterans Day, we honor the many soldiers who acted and act in defense of our values and us—regardless of the underlying political motivation of the particular conflict. The activists who fought for Human Rights/ Voting Rights/Women’s Suffrage weren’t on any payroll; they were volunteers.
Today, I AM NOT INSTRUCTING YOU TO JOIN A PROTEST or saying that protests always work. Activism has to be a strategic personal choice if you’re so called. However, I am saying each of us, every day, in all sorts of places will stumble upon opportunities to stand up for kindness. WE create the emotional environment in which we live.
Free will is an astounding power and responsibility that some of us would rather hand over to someone else. At the war crimes trials after WWII and in subsequent courts after war atrocities were committed by Americans and others, more than one defendant attempted to say, “He made me do it!” That defense didn’t play well when most of the defendants had acted out of free will, choosing to follow directions they knew were wrong. Neither can we blame Donald Trump or anyone else if we allow ourselves to betray our values. Even if we don’t participate, to pretend we don’t know when people are being mistreated doesn’t excuse us. Failure to act is an action.
Each of us stands in the spotlight of responsibility. I may be mistaken, but it looks like we will soon be lacking our big brother/sister—the justice of our laws and government—we used to call in to right the wrongs. Now we have to demonstrate what we truly believe and not merely talk. When the Danes stood up to protect the Jews (and other minorities) among them—thereby endangering their own lives—they did it man by man, woman by woman.
When we see someone violating the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” it’s going to be up to each one of us to make the decision to stand with the victim. “Love” is an active verb. No one promised that you could be a good person without doing anything. The holy people who created the world’s major religions didn’t sit home watching TV.
I don’t know if you’re as uncomfortable with this burden as I am, but I suppose it’s time for Americans to grow up and stop thinking we can find bliss at the bank. We the people need to stop believing that if we copy billionaires, we’ll be able to create a world where we get to tell other people what they can do (override their free will)—and it will be a great world when we’re in charge. We would get to choose who to hold to impossible standards and who to give a pass.
Perhaps the man who wrote Matthew 19:24 was onto something: “And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” You don’t have to be religious to get it. We’re meant to stand side-by-side, not on top of one another.
(The people who don’t agree with me probably won’t read this blog. We’ve come to a time when people can facilitate denial by reading only what they want to see. But I’m glad I’ve been able to share this with you. I’m wearing my safety pin—the sign that I am a safety zone for victims, as are many others.)