And the Congeniality Award Goes To
It starts early on our desire to be accepted. Often the price for admission is our individuality. We suppress what is different about us either in opinions, morality, stance or proclivities because we don’t want to stand out, or be laughed at or be disliked. How often on Facebook or other blogging sites do you find yourself among fellow conservatives or liberals pandering to the conversation with trepidation that if you say something out of the accepted norm of your “clan” that you will be ostracized? But our potential dear friends lies not in sublimating what is unique about us and in squelching our voice but rather speaking boldly, come what may. A herd mentality is a dangerous thing no matter which part of the political or religious spectrum you may be on. In this week’s Biblical reading we read about the Tower of Babel wherein God looked down upon those who set to build this tower into the sky and said: "Lo! [they are] one people, and they all have one language.” So what’s wrong with that? It’s not like they were committing murder. What is wrong with it is that they were so single-minded, so much in lockstep, so much of “one language” that no one questioned the other or challenged the other as to whether their actions were correct or not. Such uniformity in mind and action is a dangerous thing as it is bound to succeed, as did the Nazis to a great extent. No, it is not easy to stand against the establishment; it is not easy to be that only voice which speaks out against wrong or injustice, but it is our duty to destiny which lies not only in the Kingdom of God but our kingdom here on Earth. I’m reluctant to point to it, but I can’t begin to tell you how many people laughed at me when I ripped up my masters diploma from Columbia University in protest of its invitation to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad. One blogger wrote that I ripped all proof of having any brains at all. I was pretty much called every name under the sun from Zionist bitch to, well, it doesn’t matter. Throughout, I kept in mind the famous quote, “It doesn’t matter what they call you, it’s what you answer to!” And I was answering to a call of duty, not to those who looked down on me, but to those who looked up to me. I urge you all to be that voice that rings out in the silent halls of consent, the one to make a ruckus when something is not right whether it’s on a national scale or an old lady being mistreated by a checkout clerk at the supermarket. Let’s not pretend we like to mind our own business while every other second of the day we are on information overload seeking out what’s going on in every dark place in the world from celebrity to gossip to local riffs and tiffs. Also in this week’s biblical portion we read about the story of Noah. In a world of complete depravity, he had the courage to be the sole voice of decency, to walk a righteous path and to live by example. For certain he wasn’t winning any popularity contests as he was hardly speaking “the language” of the times. Both he and his ark were oddities to deride until came the rain and the rising of the tide. In the end the “joke” was not on him at all. I’ll bring this blog to a close with a poem I learned as a little girl: No Enemies? You have no enemies, you say? Alas, my friend, the boast is poor; He who has mingled in the fray Of duty, that the brave endure, Must have made foes! If you have none, Small is the work that you have done. You've hit no traitor on the hip, You've dashed no cup from perjured lip, You've never turned the wrong to right, You've been a coward in the fight. ~ Charles MacKay (l814-l889) edited by the Wordsmithy--for all your editing needs. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.