Tuesday, March 15, 2005

On why we fight

I have no great desire to fight and rebel. If "the establishment" didn't consistently promote injustice and inequity I would be quite happy with it. As long as there are people being trodden upon it is the obligation of any compassionate person to help them up by the means available to them. I am not a wealthy man, and so speaking out is really the only means I have to effect change, however small.

It is sometimes suggested that as we mature, we grow more conservative. What I believe happens is that as we mature, the world moves on without us. What we felt was important to achieve in our youth is often achieved, and so as we find ourselves confronted with new challenges, we shy from them. "We've done all we can," we say, and hope that it has been enough.

Perhaps we also have children, and feel that they need to be protected from anger and fear. We want them to respect our own authority as their parents and this is twisted into a desire that they should respect all authority. We all know the only way to lead is by example, and we worry that if we speak out, loudly and proudly, against what we see as threats to the well-being of humanity, our children will speak out against us, or against out beliefs when they gain the voice and the means to use it. We fear change. We think that for all the problems in the world, it's our world, goddamnit, and the young are not going to rip it from our hands. We have become what we always fought against: the establishment.

If I ever become complacent with racism, sexism, exploitation, environmental destruction, homophobia, and war simply by virtue of one day having a child, I urge all who know me to give me a good slap back to reality. In truth, I have every desire to become less complacent with such things, because as a parent I will have all the more reason to want the world to be the best it can be.

(I originally wrote part of the above in a comment to this post. I liked it, so here it is, all grown up into a real live post of its own.)


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