Standing Up for a Better Tomorrow

At the beginning of any new administration, it is typical for a sense of uncertainty to pervade the air. The possibility of incredible change leads us away from the security of basic human understanding and towards a popular willingness to give in to fear of difference. However, it is important to remember the leaders in our rich history whose steadfast conviction for the rights of all people have made such profound and positive changes in our world. Like us, they also found it not easy to stay strong in the face of extraordinary opposition, especially when the general rhetoric of others project lies as truth, deny events as real history, and value elusive imagery over the reality of daily life. Even though it may be easier to crumble and turn inward, we should not allow this general acceptance of ignorance to become the norm.

Historically, individuals have always arisen to combat overwhelming odds and change the course of humanity when it threatens to follow harmful paths. Figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. all fought back against the tides of such ignorance, inspiring others through their lives and heroic efforts. The resiliency to stand up requires a daily effort from the lives of all citizens, much like Rosa Parks for her incredible strength of not giving up a “privileged” seat on a bus or the Dixie Chicks for taking a public stance to show solidarity at the dawn of the war in Iraq.

Much the way our greatest heroes of peace have done, we can all stand our ground each day by being more aware of those around us, standing up for the down-trodden, and recognizing and denying the power of discrimination and fear. Take a hard look at the lives of those who have fought great odds to achieve understanding for whole classes and races of people. Use these stories to gather strength through intelligence and break out of the downward spiral of fear and misunderstanding to strive for a better tomorrow.

 

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,
by Henry David Thoreau

The Essential Writings, by Mahatma Gandhi

The Essential Writings,
by Mahatma Gandhi

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.,
by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom,
by Nelson Mandela

 

 

Michael Barnett is a writer and editor with associative ties to Alibris as strong as heartstrings.

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