As 2016 stumbles to a close, I gotta say, it’s been a weird one. I wrote recently about the deaths I have seen, and now my mind is trying to figure out all this poo-litical stuff. The two big ones are of course Trump and Brexit.
It’s not the vote or referendum though which is on my mind. It’s their aftermaths. After the results of both were announced, the media was awash with reports of protests and racist abuse. For some reason, the election of President who espouses racist or sexist rhetoric, or a referendum supporting a UK detached from Europe, has brought out the worst in some of us. Somehow people now feel that overnight they are allowed to be however much of an asshole they want to be.
The trigger for this post was n alt-right right group in the USA daring to open the “Are Jews people?” debate. Seriously people, we are going there again?
I do really believe that 99.9% of the population of where ever, are generally speaking, decent folk who know a little bit of history and have their normal portion of common sense. Or maybe is just that the people I hang out with in my own little echo-chamber seem to have their heads screwed on the right way around. At least, for every obnoxious, loud mouth, racist on the bus, TV, social media, reciting the kind of trash we though we left behind half a century ago, there are 1000s of people who believe other wise.
So, why the long faces? Why all the, “Oh, what is the world coming to?” and hand wringing? If even satire sites (gotta love them) BabylonBee, and Onion are able to point us in the right direction, what are we worrying about?
Often we read the phrase, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.”. Well, what about “Never underestimate the power of good people in large numbers.”? My friends, we are in the majority. The MAJORITY, people. So when we see someone murmuring assent to some rubbish on TV, for example “Are Jews people?”, we can just nudge them as say, “Actually, yes they are.”.
It’s that easy.
People power – We have it in spades, just use it. Take hold of that adrenaline which is making your leg tremble, and put it to good use. All it requires is for us too keep our moral compasses pointing in the right direction, and just open your mouth and say something. Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.”. So, to defeat evil, you just need to be a good person and do something. You might be the greatest person on the planet, who loves everyone not matter what, but unless you step up and represent – you will be part of letting evil triumph.
If someone says something dumb, we gently correct them. We don’t need to make a big drama out of. The quietest words are sometimes the ones which sink in the deepest.
If we see someone getting bullied on the bus, we get up and talk to them, and ignore the bully. We don’t wait to see if someone else will go for us. We go. We saw it. We do something. Maybe we will give courage to someone else to join us.
Pastor Martin Niemöller is credited with these words:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Let’s change that.