Stand Up

Someone once said that strong people stand up for themselves but the strongest people stand up for others.

Have you ever ignored an opportunity to stand up for someone who was being disrespected or treated poorly? I have, and to this day it’s something I regret. It’s easier and far more comfortable to stay quiet. There’s always justification for not wanting to rock the boat, for wanting to avoid adding more hurt to an already hurtful situation, for letting rude or insulting behavior slide because you can see both sides of a given situation. I don’t want to get involved. It’s their issue, not mine. I hear those comments more than I care to admit.

The reality is that disrespect and hateful treatment, whether it’s on the world stage or between only a few, is a human issue. That makes it everybody’s issue. It’s not about taking sides, nor is it about seeking right or wrong. It’s about choosing love over hate.

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There’s a reality TV show called Love It or List It. Homeowners must decide whether they’ll love the home they’re in or whether they’ll list it. In other words, whether they’ll stay or cut their losses and sell.

Love it or list it. If you take away the real estate component of that show and replace it instead with human dynamics, you could rename it love it or lose it. Because if you boil any disagreement down to its pure essence, distill it completely, that’s pretty much what you’re left with. Will we choose to love or will we choose to lose? Will we be big-hearted, compassionate and accept someone even if we don’t agree with them or will we be small-minded, mean and reject them?

Love or hate. It’s pretty simple.

Last week it was the horror of Charlottesville. This coming weekend alt-right demonstrators are planning protests in Vancouver. There will be counter demonstrations too. People willing to stand up for inclusion instead of exclusion. People motivated by love and hopefully wise enough to demonstrate soulfully rather than aggressively.

I hope things stay peaceful. I wish I could be there to add my voice to the crowd. But instead of bemoaning the fact that I can’t get there, I’m reflecting on the Greek theory of the cosmos: that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. I choose to believe that what we do in our own little world makes a difference. I believe that when we reject bigotry, hatred, disrespect or petty meanness on even a small scale, it adds a sliver of light to a dark corner of the world.

I believe I’ll stand up. I believe it’s time we all did.

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