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Not Afraid

"I'm not afraid, to take a stand..." Eminem

No matter your political orientation (Republican, Democrat, Independent, totally non-political) or your personal beliefs (faith-based, secular, liberal, conservative), you know the difference between right and wrong. You know that racism is wrong. You know children should not be in cages. You know that while the FBI and the courts are not always right, they are critical institutions in our society. You know that people like John McCain and RBG were great Americans who selflessly gave to their country.

But the question is not whether we know something is wrong; the question is what we do when confronted with overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing. Well, when I am looking for deep words of wisdom to find my way, I like to consult the writings of Dr. Seuss: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." The Lorax. So, it is up to us. We do not have to be jerks, or self-righteous, but we have to act the right way, speak the right way and vote our conscience. If we are silent, we are complicit. If we are afraid to respond to openly racist or xenophobic remarks from friends or acquaintances, we are complicit.

Our character is never defined during times when we take the popular, easy or comfortable stand, but when we are willing to put at risk our own comfortable lives by taking a stand for goodness, even if unpopular. We should not seek conflict, but we should not be afraid to engage (hopefully constructively) with others to make it clear that, in order for our society to work, we need to believe that all Americans have equal rights, that a well-functioning government that serves the people is to be strongly desired, that protest is not disloyalty, and that persistent lying by government officials will not be tolerated.

Each and everyone one of us has an important role to play. I hear many folks say "What can I do?" Wrong question. The proper question is "What must I do?" And to answer that question, the place to start is to not be afraid to take a stand. Sometimes it will be difficult, sometimes it will require you to be alone in a crowd. But, in the end, you know it is the right thing to do--and the most important person you need to respect is yourself.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

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