Speaking Up

I have so much I want to write for this blog, but I have been holding back. Sometimes, it is because there is a topic about which I feel so much anger and outrage (so many reasons for this lately, especially today), yet I don’t want anger to cause my words to miss my goal, to somehow do more harm than good. As both history and current events make clear, words (especially strategic lies) can lead to violence. If I write about what makes me angry or outraged, I want to write in a way that leads to positive actions. And I want to aim for accuracy and insight, not distortions or exaggerations. A daunting goal, especially when I am mad.

I also worry about how to address everything that is at risk and everyone who is endangered right now. Some of the outrages are direct and personal to me. Some are outrages against others who I would hope to support. I admit, I worry if I speak out loudly on one topic, I am somehow failing because I haven’t spoken out on every single type of outrage nor have I identified the specific ways that one group of people is harmed more than another group by one of these issues. I want to speak up, but I don’t want to say too little or divert from the work of those who keenly feel and know harms that I do not.

There is a related (yet opposite) reason I hesitate to post on my blog. Some of the topics that interest me seem so frivolous in the face of more serious concerns. Some are silly, some are random, most are frankly diversions from more serious concerns. I worry about writing about something that is light in the face of so much that is heavy.

And yet, I want to write on these topics, both heavy and light. For the light ones, I want to give myself permission to write on them because it seems wrong to let the bullies stop me from enjoying a few diversions. For the heavy ones, well, it seems wrong not to speak up, even if I can’t be sure I’m doing it right, or if I’m missing something else that is important. I also can’t choose one cause as most important. I understand that there are people who take on the needed role of activist, shining a light on a specific concern that they understand deeply. So if I try to support every cause that is pro-humanity, pro-democracy, pro-justice, pro-peace, pro-community, pro-environment, pro-empowerment, anti-bullying, anti-bigotry, anti-violence, anti-apathy, anti-despair… I know that I may not articulate my support as well as such activists would. But rather than hesitate to write on difficult topics, I should embrace the possibility that I will sometimes have to try again as I gain fresh insights or learn from wise activists or scholars, expanding or changing what I’ve written.

I will listen, I will learn, and I will speak up because we all have to speak up these days, whether it’s light or heavy. Not yelling, no. But engaging in ways that are authentic, meaningful, and peaceful, in order to live up to our responsibilities to take care of one another and to take care of this planet.

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