So it’s fairly easy to sit here and talk about ideas, ethics, morals, the way you see problems and trying to identify solutuions. But it’s another thing to actually be out in the world and do something about it.
My run today was going along fairly well. I’ve been healthy and putting in good times, getting faster, stronger, better. But today something took me out of my zone and I wasn’t able to recover.
So as I got to about the midway point of the out leg of the run, there was this guy about my age, across the street yelling at and pushing a guy, probably about my father’s age. Now the older guy wanted no part of it, his arms were up in a defensive posture and he was backing away the entire time. There were probably half a dozen people on the sea side of the road just going about their business. But clearly there was this fight happening and the older guy didn’t want any part of it.
So I ran across the street and started yelling at the younger guy to knock it off. Which he did as he tried to dismiss me and tell me to mind my own business. Well here’s the thing. It’s not like this older dude was wearing a nazi uniform, not like he was trying to accost someone or anything. I don’t know what preceeded the pushing and yelling, all I know is the old guy clearly wanted nothing to do with it.
So thinking everything had calmed down, I start on my way again, only to hear the younger guy start up again. I turn around to break them up again, but this time another runner had crossed the street and taken my place. I still returned to the far side of the road just to keep an eye on things until the older man had gotten in his car safely. The younger guy was staring daggers at me and I stared right back. He tried to explain something but I wasn’t listening, I didn’t care and I don’t care. It really doesn’t matter what the issue was there, the older guy wasn’t fighting back, he wasn’t being aggressive, at that point you can’t continue.
People are so used to looking the other way, they’re scared to speak up. I’m sure some of my friends will chastise me and remind me that I “don’t know who those people are, maybe that guy is ‘Ndrangheta or some local criminal, maybe he had a gun…” I’ve heard it all before, I don’t care. I know what’s right and what’s wrong, and I’m going ot act on that regardless. That is what freedom is. Looking the other way, being afraid of what may happen, minding your own business, that is living on the side of the oppressor. That is what oppressors want. Sure it’s great they have some true believers that will follow their orders, but the thing that makes them truly effective are the masses minding their own business, just trying to get by and not get hurt.
Well, if someone else is getting hurt due to my indifference, or my fear, then I am also to blame. Can I stop all these things from happening? No, but I can stop what I see when I see it, and if everyone did, then these things wouldn’t happen, because no I can’t be everywhere at once, but someone’s always somewhere, and if we’re all doing the right thing, then the wrong thing can’t happen. The problem is, it takes all of us, and it takes courage, and it takes effort. Did I want to stop my run, come out of my zone, jeopardize my health and well-being? Nope. Did I worry that I may have to end up taking the old guy’s place, and bear the brunt of this other guy’s aggression? Yep. But that’s life, that’s the thing. Nothing will change if we don’t actively change it. We have to stand up and we have to stand up now. We have to reject these fear-mongers, these oppressors, and we have to do it at EVERY LEVEL. From the guy on the street trying to beat up the old man, to the politician in parliament trying to punish the poor for their poverty, hurt women because they thin kthey should control them, torture the LBGTQ community thinking that electroshock torture will change them, oppressing minorities because it gives them a cheap source of labor, and it’s easy to vilify them in order to whip up those true believers into a frenzy, trying to outlaw a religion, mostly for the same reason.
We need to stand up against these things, and you know what, no grand revolution is happening anytime soon. Not until we all pull our heads out of the sand and we all start demanding a change.
Have fun, keep running and remember; If Gil can run then so can you!
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