Thoughts from a first-world-Topic discussion on my Facebook page
This morning I posted a statement on my personal Facebook page on a subject about which I have been thinking for quite a while. Here it is:
How ironic is it that the barbarians among us feel more free than they ever have in my memory to say aloud and do the most despicable things imaginable, while the humanitarians are often discouraged from speaking at all, for fear of being judged politically incorrect?
One of my many intelligent and interesting Facebook friends replied:
People gotta learn to speak up and damn the consequences. There is a word for that. It is called courage. And we must encourage people to say what they feel, or do what they feel.
Injustices were never corrected by not speaking up.
Evil triumphs when good men remain silent.
The future lies not in the stars but in ourselves.
Thus it has always been.
And then I said,
I agree, but when it reaches a point when I am hesitant to support a group or position that I actually agree with, not because I fear the reaction from people who disagree with the position, but because I have been made to feel that I have no right to comment on an issue where my demographic has been part of creating the problem (e.g., aboriginal issues, Black Lives Matter), or that I have no right to comment because I am one of the entitled (Caucasian), it makes my brain go into a twist that I can’t untie. I post comments [on FB, about current issues], and then I take them down.And when I don’t agree with a position of a disadvantaged group (e.g., certain Palestinian leaders), I don’t even think about saying anything.
The same friend replied:
Yes, you are right Mary. Those who disagree are marginalized by the marginalized. You are immediately dismissed and your voice becomes irrelevant in the discourse.
If you do not support the prevailing ethos you are treated like a bad person with bad ideas whose views should be ignored and eradicated.
Then another of my intelligent and interesting Facebook friends said:
[W.B.] Yeats made the same point and I paraphrase: “A time will come when the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Written in 1922. Could have been yesterday.
And I marvelled at how much more clearly and succinctly Yeats had said it than I had. The line is from the wonderful poem “The Second Coming,” which contains another of my favourite lines: “Things fall apart: The centre cannot hold.” That, too, seems painfully relevant today.
On a more positive note, watch for an upcoming article here on The Militant Writer entitled “How I gave away 19,159 copies of the ebook version of Rita Just Wants to Be Thin, and finally started selling the book on a regular basis in the US, the UK and Canada five or so years after it was first published under another title, thereby restoring my self esteem and motivating myself to get back to work on my next book.” Or something to that effect.
As always, I welcome and encourage your thoughts on these or any other matters relating to writing and the militancy necessary to get it done.
Well said Mary!
‘Well said, Mary,’ indeed!
This is a real problem in the current atmosphere. I have lost several good friends simply by pointing out that the internet hate-mail they were forwarding was truly hate mail, perhaps not truly reflecting their considered opinions, and please send no more. Bigots can be attacked [not without risk, but that’s OK] but the followers of bigots are both sensitive in their secret shame and highly resistant to reasoned argument.
In addition, the wink and nod are not usually directly articulated; so responding to an obvious attack on, for example, blacks is likely to get the loud aggrieved reply that “I never even mentioned the word ‘black'”.
In the end, the voice of reason cannot win if reason is not voiced. Surrender is defeat.
A third problem, which you mention as an aside, is that you may be attacked by both sides, for both sides have their extremists. You are no more a member of a ‘guilty demographic’ than I am. How can a Canadian woman be guilty for US racial disparities, just because she is of Caucasian descent? It’s ridiculous, but it’s a common ‘get out of my dogfight’ response. I use blacks as an easy example, but only as one among many; women, homosexuals, Muslims, Jews, liberals, commies – we are all part of one minority or another, sometimes of several. Perhaps those ‘angry white males’ are feeling for the first time what so many others have felt all their lives?
All I can suggest is to open your mouth and speak truth and reason as you see it, but not to the extent of inviting mortal danger. You will not be alone, but it will feel that way.
Thanks for this!