Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?
~ Jane Austen
In life, we know, there is a right… and there is a wrong.
There is a common understanding it would seem, that if you are not educated on any particular topic or issue… then a) the responsibility to fight for what is right regarding that issue does not fall with you, but also, and quite contrarily, b) you are able to make statements about said issue, be they right or wrong, market these statements to the masses… with little to no consequence to yourself.
The responsibility and consequence both lie with the individual or community who is fighting an uphill battle for their basic human, or otherwise, rights.
We too often rely on the group with the smaller, or non-existent voice, to fight their own battle… and the loudest voices are all to often used to the detriment of that group – often by people who have very little knowledge or understanding of the issues. Or at least, that they have little knowledge is what I have to believe – for my faith in humanity to remain intact, I cannot succumb to the belief that they are, in fact, educated on the matters they so irresponsibly spout about… because this would mean they were fighting against equality… fighting against the rights of another human being… fighting against the protection of children… against the protection of women… against the protection of men… fighting against what is right. And supporting, whole heartedly, and with complete understanding, what is wrong.
People say there are two sides… and some say there are three – black, white… and grey.
The water is rarely clear.
In this world, mud abounds.
But there are times, when the water is so clear you can see every single grain of sand.
There are times when what is right, and what is wrong… is not a question. It is not a debate. It is not something we can discuss. It. Just. Is.
Intimate partner violence is wrong. The number of deaths of women as a result of this violence, is wrong. The number of suicides of men as a result of this violence, is wrong.
Abuse against children, of any kind, is wrong.
The sexual assault, abuse and imprisonment of human beings seeking refuge from war-torn countries, is wrong.
The lack of resources given to prevent these things occurring, is wrong.
The fact that any human being on this Earth, has the ability to deny the same rights they enjoy to another human being, is wrong.
I have been asked so many times, “but, what is the answer?”, “how do we fix these issues?”. Truth be told, I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for those questions. But I do know how they will not be fixed. They will not be fixed by our failing to recognise the wrong, and fight for the right. They will not be fixed by having bandaid solutions and surface responses to issues that are so much deeper.
“Fuck off, we’re full.” is not the solution.
“Make me a sandwich.” is not the solution.
These jokes? They are not jokes. They are the loudest voice, determining that there is an ‘us’… and there is a ‘them’. They are the loudest voice, saying that the ‘they’, are less than the ‘us’.
We live in a society where, to go against the grain, is to be rejected. To be mocked. To become the butt of the jokes we so often laugh at, at the expense of others.
Think about that.
You are making fun of someone else’s tragedy. You are kicking someone when they are already down. Instead of standing in front and protecting, you are standing above and spitting.
There is right. There is wrong.
It is just a matter of wearing the trousers and taking control of your own perspective.
If you don’t know about the issue… learn.
I don’t know how to fix these problems… but I do know that the first step is for us to take responsibility for learning enough so that we can decide what is right and what is wrong for ourselves. Because so many of these issues are not debatable… they are fact. The decision is made easy, because the mud is wiped away. The water becomes clear.
So, be brave.
As Mark Twain so concisely put it, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”