Every day we are confronted with a line in the sand. Whether a post, a news broadcast, a policy, a procedure, a joke, an order that needs to be challenged regardless of the consequences. I am not suggesting that we should be up for a fight in all circumstances or not even when we feel uncomfortable with the situation, but there is good reason to reflect before we act. Coming from an impatient imperfectionist with a serious action bias, this may sound rich.
I am learning that my reactions don’t always align with what I say that I value. When I am disturbed, upset, or angry (think this week’s debate), I can go down a rabbit trail of mean-spirited, even violent thoughts. I espouse rational dialogue and logical discussion, but those fly out the window when I am triggered. I am working on this by pausing and reflecting on my reaction.
Back to the initial point; Conformity without reflection leads to cross lines that we wouldn’t want our partner or grandmother to know we have crossed. It starts small and cascades into words and deeds that are out of character.
For most of my career, I have challenged first-order thinking with questions like; “ what happens next?”, “who will be impacted?” “ what does this action lead to in ten minutes? Ten days? ten years?” It can be exhausting being a contrarian and much more comfortable going along.
Back to the debate this week. Even though it makes no difference and I don’t get to vote in the US Presidential election, and neither candidate has my trust, I must draw a line. When the current President refuses to denounce white supremacy and incites violence, I must raise my voice and challenge all Americans to VOTE. Vote this President out at any and all cost. The consequences of inaction will lead to the end of civil society, dissent, and democracy in the US and across the globe.