My Facebook page has become really rather quiet lately.
Not entirely silent, mind you. More pointedly muted.
The intention is clear: I will ‘like’ pithy little updates about your quaint life in the countryside. I will ‘love’ photos of your dog. But I absolutely, positively will not acknowledge your comment on Trump, or the GOP, or Brexit, or May, or democratic process.
“She’s just so political” is the unspoken complaint I hear all too loudly.
And, maybe you’re right.
Maybe I am too political.
Because I have lived with this feedback for over half of my life now, I know that my positions on white privilege and chauvinism are unwelcome. But, maybe my criticisms of a US Presidential candidate who stirs hate at every turn are out of line. And, maybe my open concern about a PM who brought criticism from even UKIP for her ‘immigrants go home’ approach is unnecessary.
But, see, here’s what I wonder: why are you not ‘political’?
How can any of us right now sit back and not take a position? How can anyone who is awake not be a little bit concerned about what is happening in this world around us? And, when you do awaken to this mess, why would you choose to sit silently when your voice, your comment, your willingness to speak out might actually change a point of view?
You know, I want to work in civil rights. I desperately wish I had had mentors and guides and supporters around when I was younger, who would have helped me take a talent and a drive and a passion that I know is there and put it to real and practical use. Not having the confidence or the self-awareness or, frankly, the encouragement to do that is one of the greatest regrets of my life.
I have tried, time and time again, over the years to become an ‘official’ contributor to the work of humanitarianism. To transition from ‘business person’ to ‘rights campaigner’. And, at every turn, I have been rebuffed.
That hurts. It hurts a lot. It’s also ego-crushing, truth be told.
But, it doesn’t mean I have an ‘out’. It doesn’t mean I can sit back and be quiet and just stew in the anger injustice creates.
No. If I care about people, if I care about right, about good, if I care about making anywhere a better place, I still have an obligation to work for the fair treatment of all human beings.
To be, as it’s so often labeled, ‘political’.
And, what that means is that people will avoid me, people will tell me to ‘lighten up’, people will tell me I have no sense of humour, that I’m too critical, that, that, that, that, that. . . .
But, every once in a while, someone will listen. Someone will hear. Someone will take a step back and think about sharing and caring. Someone will listen to a voice instead of seeing a skin colour. Someone will hear words instead of an accent.
And they will speak up.
And they won’t be complacent.
And they won’t be neutral.
And something will change.
For the better.
For all of us.