Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sifting Through Life: Stand Up

"If you stand for nothing, Burr, what'll you fall for?" from Hamilton.

This quote speaks volumes to me.  What am I willing to fall for?  What do I stand for?  

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a two-year break from blogging and writing this page. In that time, I spent the few quiet moments in my life, asking myself those two questions. It wasn't until I went to San Fransisco and saw Hamilton that I made some connections. I've listened to the sound track hundreds of time. The musical is about one of the founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. In the musical, there are many references to equality, injustices, immigration, education, and politics. I find the message of the musical penetrating to the events that we are watching unfold in our current society.

Standing up for our fellow humans who are our friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers who feel afraid, who feel less than others, who don't have the same advantages, who deserve an equal opportunity to basic human rights--should be natural, should be easy, shoud be a given.  It's not. Our culture makes decisions based on the color of our skin, gender preferences, religious rhetoric, physical/mental abilities and then decides who is worthy, entitled, and deserving of better schools, better employment, better neighborhoods, and/or better lifestyles.  The scale is not balanced. People are afraid that we are moving back in time. I'm afraid we are walking backward too. Until I go to church or talk to my friends. I hear their desires for change. I see them standing up to this inequality. I hear them condemning racism and fears about diversity. I see them standing up. I also see those who are afraid to stand up.  

We live in a culture that allows fear to reside because we are afraid to stand up. To say something. To begin a conversation that feels awkward. We are afraid because of what we might lose. We are afraid because our cultural norms tell us to be politically correct. We are afraid because we might lose.  

We might lose it all because we said NO. STOP. ENOUGH is ENOUGH. CHOSE a SIDE. 

If we can't stand up to hatred, our own fear, to th violence, and to the submissive and enabling attitudes, we have already lost. We have lost what it means to be a part of humanity that knows joy, acceptance, and love. From the ashes of honesty and truthfulness, we must rise like the Phoenix and fly proudly because we stand up, we preach acceptance, equality, and love.  Love is not passive. Love is fierce. It ignites a desire and a plan. It does something. Love brings change, breeds conversation in safe places. Love takes action and then listens, learns and challenges for change.  Love is a verb. 

I was mad at myself on Sunday.  I was mad at myself because I did not stand up as often or as loud as I should have. Oh, I tried. I would ever so gently try to steer conversations about racisms, educate ignorant family when they accepted the white/heterosexual/conservative ideas, and show them empathy because of who they were raised by. I have not been direct enough. I am whispering when I should have been loud. I was voiceless because I was afraid. I knew what I would lose and I was trying to keep my it all together because we were FAMILY.

Fuck that! Sometimes we are born into families that facilitate our up bringing but that's it. Children learn to treat others by the way their parents treat others. Kids listen and watch. I listened and watched my own parents and grandparents. As a child, I followed because I didn't know.  As an adult, I will stand up.  

Not another day will go by that I accept racist or dehumanizing talk, racist/misogynistic people, or hateful speech in my presence or home.  Opinions are fine but when your opinion preaches hate, violence, elitism, and separatism--you will be seen as a person that I will question and view in a different light. 

Stand up for the rights of humans who are hurting. Those who don't have the same equality as white America. Stand up for those who contribute to our society despite their religion, gender preferences, and/or color of their skin. If you don't think they have a place in our America, then open a text book, read a bit of history and check your own privilege. My daughter contributes daily. My nephews contribute daily. My friends contribute daily. This country was built on diversity and it will continue to flow and ebb. We are seeing this now play out and we are all being given an opportunity to stand for something. What will you stand for? What will you stand up to? What are you willing to fall for?

As a believer of good and love, and as a human-- I beg everyone to stand up to all that is wrong in our culture and country. We can make a difference if we are willing to speak for those who need our voices and stand together for change. Listen to their stories.  Listen to their pain and learn from it. Teach your kids to not fear different, or other, or them. Show our children by example how to be an advocate.  Erase the "us vs. them" and accept that they are us and we are them. We are one human race seeking after the same things: equality, love, joy, life, success, and acceptance. 

Stand up even if your legs shake, your heart beats fast, even if you're afraid. There is only one side as Joe Biden said over the weekend. Decide which side you are on and which part of history you want to be a part of. 


Our future depends on it. 

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