5.11.2017

Petty Tyrants

What are you doing to overthrow tyranny?

Nope.  Not the tyrants ruling countries. The ones ruling offices, congregations, and families.  The ones who live on your block and rule their own tiny fiefdoms.  I want to know what you're doing to topple the regime of the office bully, of the parish despot who silences opposing viewpoints, of the teacher who publicly humiliates his students. I don't want to hear a damn word about the inaction of congressional Republicans until we practice taking down the autocracies in our neighborhoods.  (No, that's not true.  I still want congressional Republicans to step up...)

But I'm not kidding: what we tolerate small-scale is what we experience large-scale.  Courage is courage, and if we don't exercise it, it atrophies.  

A few weeks ago, I mostly kept my mouth shut when someone in power trounced a minority opinion.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to speak up, and do it well.  I didn't want to sacrifice my standing for an un-winnable fight. I had no leverage in that group, and frankly had never met some of the players.  So, I probably wouldn't have changed the outcome. Also, no kidding, I got my ass handed to me the last time I spoke up in a situation with similar dynamics.

But I wouldn't have lost as much as I did the last time.  I'm older now, and jaded in a useful way.  I'd rather lose a fight than lose myself. (Truthfully, that's exactly what I concluded in Round One, but it hurt like hell and took too long to figure out.) A very smart Palestinian Christian observed in church on Sunday that we aren't necessarily called to fix, but to be faithful and obedient.  (And some of you know how I feel about "obedient.")  He's right, though: we're called to be obedient to what we understand to be the greatest good, whether that's God or a code of ethics.  

And hypocrisy isn't any prettier in us than in our elected officials.  
Stand up, dear ones.   


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"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins