Saturday, January 16, 2016

Against the odds

One against many is not uncommon, nor are the results predictable.
"Are you in over your head, son?" The judge smiled as the young lawyer answered, "Absolutely." ~The Rainmaker -- Danny Glover, Matt Damon, 1997

One against many is not uncommon, nor are the results predictable.

'Pick your battles', we're told.  Does that mean pick the ones where the odds are in our favor?  Or perhaps it means we should choose the important ones; the ones where the issue is life-significant.

Should we battle over which tv show to watch?  Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to invest our personal efforts in serving well, ethically well, good-conscience well for the sake of others.

It's sometimes difficult to see clearly what has perhaps been obscured by time and competing concerns.  Sometimes, important issues finally emerge, and you see that you can do something.

So you decide.  You're going at risk, but this is important enough to justify action.  You've picked your battle.  Now, how do you go forward?

Ideally, you'll graciously unveil the problem (and a reasonable solution), and others will immediately agree and change.  More likely, you may stand alone against the inertia of things as they are; most folks dislike change and the associated effort.

It was like that with slavery.  Pro-slavery advocates claimed that enslaved Africans were lesser human beings who benefited from their bondage.  In England, William Wilberforce and others campaigned for years against the slave trade.  They won in 1833.  In America, the abolitionist John Brown led a violent insurrection in 1859 that got him tried for treason and hung.  He's credited with triggering the Civil War.  Brown's actions prior to the Civil War as an abolitionist, and the tactics he chose, still make him a controversial figure today. He is sometimes memorialized as a heroic martyr and a visionary and sometimes vilified as a madman and a terrorist. Historians are divided on whether it is accurate to refer to Brown as "America's first domestic terrorist".

Today, economic inequality is a worldwide epidemic brought to us by the business world.  The by-products -- social and racial discrimination, constrained opportunity, and class oppression, all are increasing rapidly in both developed and developing countries.  Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and protests in Ferguson all point to the same inequity.  While some recognize that all are created equal, not all are treated equally.  

So, is the issue of equality big enough, life-significant enough to warrant our involvement?  Or to at least have a clear opinion?

You might also appreciate:  The GAP or Poverty is a Weapon of Mass Destruction