Living Your Best Life at Any Age

WHY I SPEAK OUT

Causes, campaigns, elections.  Everyone has an opinion.  Or do they?  I am dismayed at the number of people who seem to be anti having any opinions or at least think you should keep them to yourself.  Stay quiet. Keep your opinions to yourself.

“I don’t talk politics, you can’t change anyone’s mind.”

“Don’t bother to post your opinion on Facebook – No one cares.”  Karin at age 2

I beg to differ.

I do believe we can and should shine a light.  We can make a difference. Whenever I feel that it’s no use, I remember an incident from my earlier years in which I am really glad someone had the nerve to confront me about something I had just said.

It was the early 60’s.  I was in college and John Kennedy was running for president.  We had several students who were active in politics and had display tables in the student union building.  As I was walking past a display table of campaign materials for JFK I made some uninformed sarcastic remark.  I don’t even remember what I said but it was a regurgitation of the, shall we say, low information folks that comprised my family and my neighbors.  I lived in a blue collar neighborhood where racism and religious intolerance was rampant.  My people were intolerant of different races, different nationalities, Jews, Catholics and about anything else that made for “us and them”.   I think my comment was a repeat of the neighborhood ladies’ gossip. The Kennedy’s were, after all Catholic.  Jackie Kennedy came from so-called “high society”.  This couple represented everything my family and the neighborhood ladies held in disdain.  I made a smart remark about how the campaign was keeping her hidden.

A nicely dressed, very polite young man approached me.  He was the kind of young man I was desperate to meet and impress.  Oh, yes, I had impressed him all right.  Impressed him with my ignorance.  In a charming, but authoritative manner he explained why I was wrong.  He politely pointed out that Mrs. Kennedy was pregnant with a high risk pregnancy and needed to rest and maintain her privacy.   The blood rushed to my head.  I was mortified.  He saw me as a stupid blonde freshman and I had proven the point.  Never again!

I resolved to become informed.  I followed the campaign, read news magazines and did all I could to no longer be the dumb blonde.  Not only did I learn to be more informed  but I also learned that just one person speaking out can make a difference.  That young man changed my life and changed my way of thinking.

I think of this often as I listen to folks I perceive to be ignorant.  Perhaps I can present information that might actually have impact.  Someone might actually listen.  I believe it can happen if we do it with respect.  I don’t have to get in the fray but I can educate.  Often when someone posts something I know has been clearly debunked I post the link to the Snopes review.  I joke about having a three strikes and your out Snopes rule.  I can’t do anything about the people who believe Snopes is run by somee vast conspiracy.  I know I probably don’t influence too many people to think differently but I do hope we start the dialog.  A respectful dialog.

Probably more important is what I call “preaching to the choir”.  I feel it is important to let others know that they are not alone especially when they have presented well reasoned opinions.  I will share their opinions and I am especially honored when they share mine.

Perhaps that will give that person the courage to confront a dumb blonde who has potential to learn. 

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Comments on: "WHY I SPEAK OUT" (2)

  1. MARTIN KAPLAN said:

    Your comment reminds me of Donald Trump’s comment about the Muslim Gold Star mother whose husband had done all the speaking at the Democratic Convention. You were simply uninformed. I wonder if that’s Trump’s excuse.

  2. My 89-year old mother’s passing in February of this year seemed to have released me from some sort of self-imposed clamp-down of the mouth. I find myself now becoming more angry and outspoken over issues that are either ignored or that have not found a loud enough voice on their own or about which the ignorant masses (mainly of Texas) misspeak. I speak out, now, on Facebook, Twitter, at work and don’t really care if people get angry with me. What matters to me is that they actually hear me, hear my voice, and realize exactly where I stand on issues about which they naturally assumed I stood in alignment with them (bad grammar, sorry). I’m pretty certain this is to my detriment in some cases (like work), but at 54, I don’t really care any longer. Maybe either because I am now an angry white woman finally saying what I always wanted to say, or maybe because now I believe in the words of this blog post of yours.

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