Take a Stand!
I’ve had several conversations recently where people (women!) have said they didn’t want to take sides regarding what’s happening in the country, or they didn’t want to get caught up in "the binary," etc.
Let’s clear up a misunderstanding; there’s a vast difference between taking a stand and choosing a side.
To clear up an even greater misunderstanding, you not picking a side IS choosing a side. The people who benefit from your silence, confusion, or distaste for conflict or discomfort aren’t women. It certainly isn’t the world. And it most certainly isn’t you.
Think Nazi Germany.
The irony is that when we read about history, we all quietly assume that when faced with the same circumstances, we would be one of the “good people” in that history.
But staying quiet, wanting to keep out of the binary fray, not taking a stand, or ignoring what’s happening because it’s not directly happening to you means you are actually NOT one of the noble or courageous people in our current history. It means you are on the “wrong” side of history.
So, take a stand. There is not a single person on this planet that can’t take a step towards SOMETHING they believe in. We can all take a stand and be more courageous.
I do recognize that some may not know how to take a stand.
For those people, here’s a cheat sheet.
First, if you don’t know what you want to take a stand for, find what you are against and flip it.
Patrick Henry was against the oppression of his fellow Americans, so he took a stand for liberty.
Gandhi was against the exploitations of imperialism, so he took a stand for independence.
MLK Jr. was against the unequal treatment of his brothers and sisters, so he stood for equality.
So, if you are against the repeal of women’s rights, stand for women’s autonomy.
Second, when you find something worth taking a stand for, DON’T HIDE IT:
When the room is quiet, speak up.
When the opportunity arises to gain support for your cause, take it and run with it.
And if you have a platform, USE IT! Use that power and voice for your stand and shout it from the rooftops.
Finally, have courage. In fact, build your courage by standing for the world, one person at a time.
And if you are worried about becoming an "angry activist," I want you to consider S. Brian Wilson, a radical peace activist in the 80s who would meditate on train tracks to non-violently blockade a weapons shipment to El Salvador. Because as he once said, it’s important to meditate but it’s also important where you meditate.
So, stand for something. Stand for anything.
As Alexander Hamilton said, when you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.