“Without action the best intentions in the world are nothing more than that: intentions” —Jordan Belfort
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” —Revelation 3:15-16
“If you see bigotry, oppose it. If you see violence, condemn it. And if you see a bully, stand up to him.” —Hillary Clinton
To me, the most frightening aspect of the happenings of late does not lie in the chaos. We see activists rioting or Trump supporters celebrating—and both are indeed terrifying to the opposition. But no, that’s not the worst of it. The biggest danger, causing either of these extremes to manifest in the first place, is the act of turning a blind eye. Falling into a routine, taking on complacency.
The act of being okay with how things are or accepting what’s happening around you can work well in certain situations. We can’t control everything and sometimes we just have to accept that. In several instances, in order to find peace of mind, we have to stay calm and let things be.
This is not always the case.
Sometimes, we use this as an excuse to play it safe. We use our freedom and ability (due to our socio-economic status/ sex/race / U.S. citizenship) as a way out of the battle. Often times, this decision is what causes injustice. Racism, sexism, wars, starvation, pain; all of these issues continue to compound as we continue to let them.
I was listening to an NPR podcast the other day, featuring a woman in a Seattle Starbucks. One moment she’s ordering her coffee and the next, she’s being spit on by a guy as he spews racist slurs directed at her. She was just a woman, trying to have coffee with her husband, and she happens to be black. This woman was not so much hurt by this man’s attack, but rather, she was scared by how only one witness, out of the entire crowd of people, came over to ask if she was okay.
The podcast went on to examine this situation. One of their conclusions for as to why this would be lies in complacency. People just sort of assumed this woman was fine and they didn’t need to involve themselves in the matter.
At a broader scale, I’ve witnessed this with friends. They say they refrain from politics because they just don’t want to get involved with something so corrupt and messy. Or they just don’t have time for it. Or they say politics don’t really matter to them.
Despite how messy, time-consuming, and corrupt politics may be, they matter. Our daily lives are politics. The reason we live in our houses, eat the food on our table, find time to do what we love—it’s all possible because of a (for lack of a better word) functioning political system. If we have the ability to turn the other way, it’s only because we are lucky enough to not be suffering ourselves.
We are not called to be lukewarm. We are called to take a stance, help people hurt less, listen to what’s right and fight against what isn’t.
Even if the answer to these problems isn’t clear to you, don’t turn away to complacency. Listen, witness, feel, act.
Tired of this message and want to do something about it?
We are not all given the same talents, interests, and passionss—listen to what pulls your heartstrings so that when you do get involved, you are using your energy at its highest potential.
- Call your politicians – script, contact info, ideas here
- Volunteer – find a place near you by searching “nonprofit” on Google Maps, using Volunteer Match, asking your Facebook friends if they know of an opportunity
- Know the law – read up on discrimination laws so you can stand up for someone, with the law behind ya
- Stay tuned in – I love listening to Stitcher or the NPR One app. Short 5 min clips of the news can keep you knowledgable and involved in the happenings of the world. My sister recommended the Skimm as it gives her a briefing in her email each morning. Find what works for you and don’t just ignore what’s going on around you.
- Donate – What if we started with $5.00 per week and saw if it hurt our bank accounts. If it’s too much it’s too much. If it’s not, that’s $240 /yr., over $1000 in five years. Nonprofits need funds and $1000 can go a long way.
- Sign petitions – Not blindly of course. Read about them and see if they align with your beliefs. Read each side of the story, and if you feel strongly, take five minutes and add your name.
Remember that each time you choose to embrace these issues and take a step in the right direction towards justice, you are at least trying, you are improving and you are doing better than you would have been doing had you looked the other way.