Monday, October 29, 2018

"To be is to stand for."

            "To be is to stand for." --Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

          Too many people have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the misguided, clearly unsuccessful strategy for safe coexistence with “others:” the purely reactive approach of standing up to haters, standing with victims, and standing against injustice. We see protesters reacting to acts of hatred with defiant superiority (“standing up to haters”), and neighbors reacting with “misery-loves-company” sympathy (“standing with victims”) or self-righteous outrage after someone’s persecution (“standing against injustice”). But this reactive approach is like fire-fighting with individual fire extinguishers in the wake of troops of flying arsonists, while complaining about the reckless abandonment of so much combustible material along the arsonists’ paths. Perhaps it is high time we that implement a proactive approach to preventing conflagrations, to replace the reactive approach to hatred, by focusing on what we stand forour ideals, our morals—and modeling those ideals. 

          I read this morning that a long-time Republican party official publicly stood for his own beliefs by renouncing his membership in the Republican Party and joining the Democrats. Here is the first of a long tweet  thread from Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager for John McCain:

29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.

Notice he used the phrase "stand FOR"? This is what we need, more of this. We must all decided who we are, what we stand for. We must raise kids who know what they stand for. We must never forget what we stand for just to stand with others who misrepresent our values and use their power to control us, or just to stand against those who have opposed us in petty politics. Politics are not life. Life is bigger than petty power struggles. Leadership means standing FOR principles. I admire Steve Schmidt. 

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