An all-too-typical issue that comes up on my radio program is cowardice, because someone didn’t stand up for others, for values and/or for ideals. The standard excuses range from not wanting to escalate a situation, being afraid of other people getting mad, fear of being marginalized or left out, being afraid of being “judged,” not “liking” confrontation, not wanting to lose the image as a nice person, and so on.
I disrespect the actions of not standing up for friends, fairness (even when a friend is not involved), and values. Some of my callers are parents whose adult children are behaving recklessly, thoughtlessly, and in total opposition to how they were brought up. Too many of these parents are more concerned with “peace at all costs” instead of continuing their parental leadership by clarifying their position and drawing the line.
I remember a long time ago, there was a talk show host coming on right after my program. We were polar opposites in our political views, and she would use her three hours on the air to critique my program. This, of course, annoyed the heck out of me, but I never spoke about it on the air – not even once – because I don’t use my air time to do anything but help people do and be better in their lives.
Fast forward several years later, and a feminist group went after her with venomous attacks, attempting to destroy her career. Mind you, she was a feminist activist leader herself, but she dared to have her own opinion about something that went against the grain of the activist group’s position. It turns out that I was the first person who called her the next morning – with a call of support. It galled me that there was a concerted effort to unfairly destroy her career. I just don’t like life’s unfair qualities, and I have generally stood up to them no matter what.
Fast forward again years later, and I was being unfairly attacked by a different activist group that she had once been part of. She went into numerous public venues to defend and support me.
We both took hits for doing these things, but we both turned out to like each other very much, and we both still maintained the bulk of our differing opinions. We did, however, agree on one point of ethics, morals, and values: you defend who or what is being attacked unfairly, and consequently, we both defended responsible free speech.
We both lost to the power of the activist groups, however, but we won each other’s respect and support, all while keeping the high ground. We each went on growing in success and the respect of our peers as well.
That’s one very personal experience for me. I hope the next time you see rudeness or cruelty, you will stand up.
Racial comments coming from Don Imus are as ugly and unnecessary (except for ratings) as the joke about Sarah Palin’s daughter getting “knocked up” by a baseball player. It isn’t the term “knocked up” that’s the issue – I use it all the time for out-of-wedlock pregnancies, because they usually end up with the child being aborted or growing up with the chaos of a life with one parent gone. David Letterman wanted to shoot insults at Palin simply because she’s Republican, and he aimed his gun at her child. That’s disgusting. How many of you would stand for that happening to your child?
Imus lost his job…temporarily…and Letterman’s ratings are higher. And I’m left wondering if you’ll stand up for others (or values, morals, ethics and principles) when most others around you will turn their gaze away.