I keep a file of quotes on hand as inspiration for writing posts. Most come from posts to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, but some I just stumble across while searching on the Internet. Sometimes, as is the case today, two or more quotes just seem to be destined to be used together.
From a recent post to Jack’s Winning Words comes this thought –
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” (Mark Twain)
As I was adding that quote to my collection, another quote from Lou Holtz that I had found myself caught my eye and just seemed to fit with the Twain quote.
“When all is said and done, more is said than done.” (Lou Holtz)
Moral indignation seems to be in good supply these days, while moral actions continue to lag behind. We see moral injustices documented every night on the news shows, many times based upon racism or prejudices against those who are “different”. Perhaps we have become “morally brain dead” to the events that we witness or are shown on the newscasts, or perhaps we think it is enough to sit in front of the TV and be indignant. But, what are we doing about it? Do we get out and protest the moral wrong? Do we contribute to the cause that is fighting that wrong? Or, do we sit in our easy chairs and go, “tsk, tsk, that is so wrong”?
In many countries of the world, people take to the streets, protesting, erecting barricades and burning tires to demonstrate against the moral wrongs that they perceive their governments are committing. In America we saw that in the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting income inequity a few years ago and the Women’s March on Washington. We still see it in the Black Lives Matter protests that occur all too frequently after a questionable police shooting. Most recently, we have seen news reports of protests at the border detention centers over the deplorable conditions inside.
In the end, Lou Holtz’s quote may be the most accurate – much more is said than done. Politicians rush to the scene of whatever moral crisis is unfolding hoping to get a photo op and, perhaps, a quick quote of indignation on the nightly news. Then you don’t see them again. You don’t hear of them introducing legislation to right the injustice. Perhaps they hold hearings of some committee in Washington, which gives them another photo op and the chance to be on the news, again.
So the real question is, “What are you doing about it?” You won’t get a photo op and you are unlikely to be featured on the news. What can you do? There are three roles available in any situation like this – be a leader in organizing the response, be a follower/supporter of the response or be a bystander and largely ignore the response. Being a leader don’t necessarily being on the front line of the physical protests that may be occurring. It can mean being the organizer of a local drive to collect toiletries or food or money to send to the people in need at the border holding stations. Perhaps it means organizing a neighborhood group to work with the local police on diversity training. Maybe it just means being more open to diversity yourself or more sensitive to racial issues in your community. In some cases it may mean joining in the political movement to replace the politicians who have not been doing anything about what they see with new people that have the moral courage to act instead of just lamenting the wrongs and smiling for the cameras.
Whatever role you take on is better than just being a bystander or just commenting on how indignant you are at the wrong. By leading or joining a group of like-minded people who are trying to right a moral wrong, you are reinforcing the character and principles that this country was founded upon. So, just do something – join a movement or protest, collect supplies to be used to fight the crisis, give money, give blood, give time – these all help and give you an answer to the question, ”What are you doing about it?”
Another quote by a great coach sums it up well – “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” (Vince Lombardi)
Commit to do something.