“That’s what I thought, too when I was your age. If there’s just one kind of folks, why can’t they get along with each other? If they’re all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other?”
― Harper Lee,
As the Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh once stated: The political is personal.
When I consider whether or not to share my opinions, I think of what a privilege it is as a woman to have this choice. Not too many generations ago, women in this country were not allowed to vote. The only way to continue to make progress is to talk about injustice. We must drag the villains out of the shadows and make them face the world. We must not keep quiet because we are afraid of the consequences. The consequences of staying quiet are much worse.
When I think of whether or not to share my opinion, I think of all the times I yelled at the television when watching documentaries or films related to slavery. I wonder how people could just watch as other humans were beaten, raped, and worked to death. There are countless modern injustices that many of us sit by and watch happen without speaking up against them.
I also consider all the people too scared to speak out against injustice. There is a concept in psychology where people believe that someone else will call the police or report child abuse. The truth is someone else will not call. You must call. I’ve spoken about this concept on the blog before. I am bringing it up again because I watched a video where a young African American girl was shoved around verbally assaulted at a Trump rally by white supremacists and it appeared that no one had the courage to jump in and stop the violence. Every single person that witnessed this act of violence is culpable. We are responsible for one another.
Maya Angelou once said, “words are things.” We cannot let people speak and perpetuate hate and ignorance. We must be courageous. I refuse to let injustice stand and do nothing. I will not be another person in the background that was too scared to disagree with money and power. I must live with myself and know that I am living according to my values: love and compassion.
I understand that it is scary to speak out. I know that people don’t like or agree with my opinions but I will not stop speaking. I’m not afraid of losing friends or social favor because I disagree with you. I understand that I make people anxious and angry by speaking out. Or, as my Facebook friend tally would show, I am being defriended by the day. This is fine. You are welcome to turn the channel.
I our culture, women are socialized to be liked. This means that we should not talk too much or have strong opinions. In doing so, we risk not being liked. It hurts my heart when someone doesn’t like me but I can’t make that more important than speaking out against injustice. I take a deep breath and move forward.
So, yes do have opinions on most everything that comes to my attention. I care deeply about the world I share with you. I care what happens to people, animals and the environment. I strongly believe that we all suffer when one aspect of the world suffers. I am a fierce believer in interconnectedness and I know that what happens to me influences what happens to you and the reverse is also true.
Finally, a person does not have permission to act hateful using whatever faith you ascribe to as a permission slip. This is a shameful act of violence. This is not an act of love (as some say) it is righteous indignation. When you judge another person or make it acceptable to treat someone less than for any reason you are not acting in love.
Silence is violence. We must speak out about the things that matter. We must be courageous promoters of love and compassion. We must not be those people that the future looks back as as cowards.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” – Maya Angelou