Last night I watched the 1970’s film “Big Little Man,” a socially conscious movie highlighting the differences between lives of early Americans and Native Americans, and the injustices to the latter. After the movie ended, I felt deeply saddened and angry at the state of the world and at the historical and current injustices against certain groups both inside and outside of America. I felt scared about the increasing tensions between the United States and North Korea and about the threat of nuclear war. I felt gridlocked in my ability to change what seems to be a repetitive historical narrative of oppression, the power of power (the ability to influence others, especially tied to social status and ranking) and privilege (advantages granted to certain groups or individuals over others). The movie even made me feel gratitude for my family, the love in my life, and even for my privilege – that I am not in a group where most of these issues impact me directly.
Now, don’t misunderstand me – I am not discounting the great progresses that have been made in the world and in America over the years. I recognize that change also requires a catalyst. But I am frustrated at what can be done, at what I can do. What contributions can individuals make to make this planet better and more equitable for each of us? How can we harness our goodness, our privilege, our power to do so? It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of our lives. It is easy to turn the other cheek because an issue is not affecting us. It’s easy to not know what to do. But let me tell you:
(Photo credit: poster hung in a room for Malaria awareness)
So now, I’m asking you, dear Internet… What do we do to help? If you think you’re too small to make a difference, remember that one becomes 2 and 2 becomes 3 and suddenly we have a caucus! We can be vocal with our thoughts. We can engage in thought-provoking conversations (not arguments) with others. We can donate to organizations and not-for-profits? What else can we do? I want to know. I want to know because I want to be a doer and not just a thinker.
When we are in relationships we are often told, “Actions speak louder than words.” Well, we are in a relationship with each of our fellow beings and with our planet. What are actions we can take to show we care? What are the ways in which we can contribute? What are ways in which you are already contributing?
“Now, we must all fear evil men. But, there is another kind of evil which we must fear… and that is the indifference of good men.” Boondock Saints 1999