I have this poster hanging in my office and it’s a motto that I genuinely try to live by. There are a number of times when I’ve had to be the obnoxious loudmouth who spoke up and stuck my nose in — my children’s schools, county meetings, out in public, school board, with other parents or friends. When things aren’t RIGHT, they just aren’t right.
So I have a really hard time understanding why NO ONE stood up on that United Airlines plane to defend the man who was forcibly being removed from flight 3411? WHY? Was getting a viral video more important? Was Tweeting the right thing to do? Have hashtags and @ mentions replaced human decency?
I honestly can’t decide which is more distasteful to me: the treatment of that individual passenger, or the remaining passengers who did nothing but rolled video instead.
I’m reminded of a John Mellencamp song lyric, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’re gonna fall for anything.” And I believe that. There are too many people standing on the sidelines not wanting to get involved. Which reminds me of another saying,”If not you, then who?” and Another, “If you see something, say something.”
Have we, as a society, gone completely overboard with citizen journalism at all costs? I certainly hope not, because there are many great tragedies which stem from people not doing anything to help others. I know the Holocaust is an extreme example but the words in this poem, about the cowardice of German intellectuals who allowed the purging of different races, ring true in times like these:
“First they came …”
By German pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984).
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
P.S. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, here’s a link to the incident and Tweets from bystanders.