So many thoughts.
All the thoughts.
And very few ears for them to engage with.
Social media is a flurry of everyone itching to take a stance. A righteous declaration from the sole person to show those who can see them where they stand. We are all so busy maintaining individuality in a landscape that is about to crash.
This is just the beginning. And it’s a step that needs to play out.
The concept of declaring on which side you stand is not a new one, nor is it inherent villainy. Sides must be chosen for any form of life to continue.
- I am hungry, and my only option is the living animal before me. What do I choose? And what is the consequence of that choice either way?
- The landscape and view are breathtaking, but our city cannot hold the surge of people inhabiting it. Either we destroy one landmark to build a manmade one and provide for our citizens, or we preserve the land and leave our people without a home.
- Morals and ideology define men and women of all types across all ages and societies. Anytime something new is introduced, we invariably fall to a defensive position to assess if it constitutes a threat. We seldom see an offering of gratitude, nonaggression, and goodwill while the unknowns are explored.
- My body is ravaged by the elements around me; wind, fire, stone, water. To solve this, I must strip and reshape the world around me to fit my needs, or I may continue to suffer.
- My family is threatened by an intruder, someone who blatantly disregards that which they do not possess. Either I take action as dictated by the situation or allow the consequences of inaction to condemn not only me but those I care for most.
The list could go on and on.
The biggest problems, though, are shown to not exist in the reality of the problem, but the execution of the reactions surrounding the issue. Those who attribute, or imprint, themselves onto what they deem to be the “natural order of things” will inevitably work hard to ensure that order is maintained.
History has familiarized us with the costs of this order.
And still, we don’t learn.
Those in power use it as a weapon of their improvement instead as a tool of service for which it was meant. To lead is nothing more than to be the most effective servant for those under your influence.
And still, we marginalize, separate, justify, and burn away our integrity for complacent, misplaced comforts.
In the book of Revelation, the last book found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, two chapters contain commandments and instruction that John the Revelator was ordered by God to deliver to the remaining churches. God’s words to these churches range from praise to admonishment, to correction, to outright condemnation.
To the very last church, Laodicea, God first says this, “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Amongst others, this verse teaches me that even God despises fence-sitters. He cannot work with those who are unwilling to define their own fate and guide their lives.
I agree with this, but I also see it as needing to go a step further.
We are spoiled with power from our living rooms, and our couches, and sitting on our bathroom toilets. We will say whatever we want, often without fear of repercussion, effort, retaliation, or consequence. If we don’t work to overcome the urge for selfish preservation, then we will fail.
Because you see, we are protected by a perverted attitude toward freedom of speech. While this used to mean that anyone could believe as they wanted, act as they wished to, and speak as they wanted, it didn’t say they were immune from the unbiased eye of lady justice herself. There was no running away from consequence, and your word indeed was your bond.
Now we fight to be an individual and maintain a separation from any consequence that may follow. We think that freedom equates to the dilution of justice. We’re genuinely lost if we’ve begun to think of ourselves as so infallible.
After all, how can one argue freedom of speech without the glaring eye of justice and consequence across from us at the table?
What entitlement. We have done this to ourselves, and it isn’t over.
As for which side I declare for, I stand with the protestors who peacefully use their right to speech’s freedom, while recognizing that how they choose to utilize that right does indeed come with consequences. I will accept my part in those consequences.
I denounce those who have molested the pure intent of our suffering citizens for their own evil and isolated ends. Harming those who are your family, your friends, your community, your greatest strength…we are blind.
I stand with those who defend their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As a trained warrior and someone who has had to protect their life before, who has had guns and knives brandished at them for no other reason than being an American, I know what it’s like to act to live. I would take whatever action necessary, against whoever instigated it, to defend my family, friends, faith, community, and myself. I understand and support those who have felt their actions so justified.
Our African American brothers and sisters have reached their limits! So why are so many of us, regardless of color or any other category, jumping to a defensive position and attempting to make ourselves feel better? Our justification is not a proper reaction to the circumstance. Our intention at stating where we stand is not the end-all-be-all to resolve the conflict.
This is not a situation to feel better in but to work together to get out of.
Until we find a way to stop working individually in a group and think as a group to serve the individual, escalation is going to be the only response. Society has had plenty of chances to learn love, empathy, sympathy, gratitude, selfless action, service, and perseverance under pressure Instead, we’ve learned how to isolate, negate, undermine, nullify, misinterpret, justify, and explain how the needs of one overshadow the issues of the many.
Let’s look at it in terms of a relationship; two people who have chosen to bring their lives together.
Should any problems come to light in this relationship, never is the brunt of it on one individual. All parties involved must share the responsibility, but there are appropriate divisions. If all are at fault, “How much fault?” is the next logical and proper question. If only this answer were always evident.
Future actions to repair a broken relationship are often hard, unpleasant, and slow. If we can let go of our pride, we’ll learn to see the answers as they unfold, and that only happens if we’re willing to selflessly act before knowing the right answer. Both parties have to act to preserve what they have based on their interest and love for the other, together, or it won’t happen. Again, working toward the solution cannot be one-sided.
There are innumerable accounts in biblical, historical, allegorical, fictional, theoretical, metaphorical, etc., domains that demonstrate the righteous uprising of the oppressed in defense of their lives. We also dedicate so much of our lives to teach, review, study, modernize, and institute these accounts for our life’s education. Even though many of those stories convey the harsh and final outcome of another group.
And now, in real-time, we’re acting just like the idiots in all those examples.
There are numerous religious accounts of people who want nothing more than to live in peace but are forced to defend themselves. Some of these examples are often used to justify hating religions.
The Spartans who stood up to the Persian army, glorified with songs, movies, and books, are now being understood in a new light. There was a cost to their actions, and one they paid in full.
We still fight for the support and lives of our Jewish brothers and sisters because of the holocaust. Yet, when our African American family is threatened, we debate and justify instead of taking action.
Again, the examples are innumerable.
I admit guilt in passivity in the past because I had no understanding of the situation in its complexities. I’ve had eye-opening experiences, and I have opinions on where I stand with many things. Still, I confess that until the rioting started (one extension in my hometown), I’d been content to contain myself in thought and observance on this matter.
I will not be one of those who mob, deforms, destroys, kills, or abuses my city or my community. However, I have proven to myself that I will do what I can when action needs to be taken.
I know what my actions are and what I will hope them to be going forward. I seek an understanding of my networks for how my behavior has been received. I will accept whatever consequences that means as I strive to embrace this new world, and I commit to making any necessary changes.
In a situation like this, a stance or position is no good unless we work to improve it. We need time to prove ourselves, with trial and error, patience, forgiveness, and integrity. Especially considering how much we’ve ****ed it up already, patience and time might need to be given in more significant amounts.
Listen to each other. Don’t marginalize. Provide empathy. Ask questions. Take action. Don’t destroy. Build up the world around you. Resist tearing down unless there’s absolutely no other way.
How we choose to handle ourselves right now will empower one outcome out of a variety of possibilities and shape an unknown future.
I’m sorry if anything I have done has contributed to the problem. Please allow my actions, combined with my words, to demonstrate my apology, and my efforts to contribute to the solution.
I believe in having fun and making other people look good. Right now, we’re not in a fun situation, but I don’t believe we have to devolve to fear, shaming others, or writhing in guilt. Those will do none of us, especially our African American family, any good.
So since we don’t have fun to work with, let’s take the second half and send it through the roof. Make each other look good, and not just on the surface. We all need to push ourselves now. It’ll be uncomfortable, but for what it could mean, a little discomfort is worth it.