Twenty five plus years ago I found myself in the middle of what I later learned was a violent demonstration on the Madison Wisconsin Capital lawn. I got hurt enough to realize I should pay more attention. I later determined what the “cause” was and as the violence escolated I realized I should understand what I was standing up for before I stood.
I’m so moved when people take a stand and passionately believe in something and exercise a fundamental freedom.. even when it’s something I don’t believe in. Our right to speak up, stand up, be counted and make a difference feels like more than a right, it’s an obligation. People have died to give me this right and they did it because it’s essential for our way of life. The most offensive two words in the english language for me are “shut up.” People died so we never have to.
I’ve wasted lots of time always being the guy to stand up and make my own way when a perfectly acceptable path already existed.. I’m getting much better at this. And yet, I stay deeply connected to my core responsibility to trust AND verify, to take a stand when necessary, to be a voice for the voiceless. I’ve found following along can be very effective when used with extreme caution and leaving the pack is an obligation when it violates my core values. This balance is hard work as I have to always be investigating my true motivation and ask important questions of myself;
Do I really believe in this or do I just want to be seen?
Is this advocacy or arrogance?
Is this noble rebellion or just being a rebel?
The truth is elusive. Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes I can exploit a good cause to feed my ego and a bad cause to remain hidden and delusional. I have to watch it all the time and remain vigilant to our responsibility to “sometimes make a way out of no way”.
Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise. When you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over. ~ Representative John Lewis