Lately we’ve heard the expression, “See something, say something.” Many wrongdoings could be avoided, stopped or the perpetrator could be caught if just one person stepped up and reported what they saw. With the various forms of anonymous reporting venues such as Crime Stoppers, retaliation by the person committing the act, has nearly been eliminated.
Opportunities for us to take a stand are not limited to the commitment of a crime. There are any number of times each day that someone says something which we know to be wrong but it is easier to “let it go.” Responding in these situations would likely not be anonymous so responding is much more difficult because it makes us uncomfortable and may seem confrontational. Not responding may give the impression of agreement. If you do agree, say so or say nothing, they may both have the same result.
Let me interject here that my writing today may seem a little preachy, holier than thou-like or that I think I’m the king of Political Correctness. My actions sometimes (maybe often) would suggest that my being preachy fits the expression, “Do what I say not what I do.” I often fail at taking a stand because I’m not sure that I can handle the possible confrontation. I put this out there as food for thought.
Recently, some politicians have ignored attacks on President Obama while others have made negative, some unfounded, statements of their own against their opponents. I sit back and think about how often we show so little respect for those with whom we disagree. Years ago I used an expression with my Ethics in Sport seminar where we did a lot of choosing up sides and debating topics; Honesty in Debate. Since generally during a debate or something that more resembles an argument, there are no fact checkers. If we enter the fray with false or misleading information, we are not respecting the process. If we don’t respect the process than we are showing little respect for our “opponent” and more important ourselves.
One of the more confrontational examples is when someone tells a joke that is racially insensitive, gender biased (also insensitive), is negatively pointed toward someone’s religion or their sexual orientation. There are other categories but these cover many of the so-called jokes. What we do when someone says have you heard the one about the (fill in with race, religion, blonde or gay person to name a few possibilities) give a good indication where we are on the take-a-stand scale. We can say no, listen and laugh, say no and not laugh, say yes to keep them from telling it, or say no followed by and I don’t think I want to hear it. If you are at this end of the scale, be prepared for having an uncomfortable moment.
Having said all of this, we don’t want to respond to any of these situations in a way to add to any volatility that might be present. Be tactful.
Tidbits – I searched for a few gems to illustrate taking a stand. I found a few of them in Richard Frisbee’s Daily Meditation (with Scripture) for Busy Grandpas. I hope they are illustrative.
Observing how seldom whistle-blowers in government or industry get anything but grief for their integrity, one is reminded of the early Christian martyrs. Tradition depicts them standing up to the lions. Grandpas usually try to avoid painful situations. But it’s good to know that there are still people whose inner selves are beyond the reach of predators.
A sign is posted at the entrances to Bloomington, Illinois, says Not in Our Town – No Racism. Putting up a sign doesn’t make it so, but it’s not a bad thing to establish a climate that declares racism out of bounds.
A great deal is owed to the many people who hid their Jewish friends from the Nazis at great risk to themselves and their families.
On Rikers Island, where New York operates the world’s largest prison, the city spends seventy thousand dollars a year to lock up each juvenile. That’s nearly ten times the budget for each child in the city’s public school system. Some of the prisoners no doubt need to be locked up to protect society . But doesn’t it seem that if some qualified grandfather took charge of, say, three of these kids and was given over two hundred thousand a year to spend, something better could be done?
Small boy extorts a toy from his younger sister. She pinches him. Daddy observes the pinch but not the theft, so he scolds her. Grandpa, who has seen it all, wonders which course to take. Should he risk acquiring a reputation as a snitch? Or should he take a stand for justice. Nobody promised grandfathering would be simple.
I’ve had five consecutive treatments as of last Wednesday. Yea! Still no serious side effects; an edgy stomach once in awhile, still not eating as much as I should and light headed if I don’t stay hydrated. We’re going to Minnesota to visit my sister Jane and brother-in-law Allen in two weeks during my week off.