Stand for What is Right


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.



  1. That bothers me too when there is an accident or other type of emergency, most are more interested in getting a video with their phone. I feel so bad for the gentleman who was treated they way he was.

  2. It’s a sad day in my world when there are more videographers than helpers. How many people needed to whip out their phones for evidence? I guess that’s more important to some. Sad.

  3. I agree with Lillian. The man was badly treated by security and police and he had not violated the law. It was his right to say no. These videos are evidence that the abuse occurred. I hope that the man files a very large lawsuit against United Airlines.

  4. Jenny,
    I don’t have local tv or cable. Since the election, the PTSD anxiety was being triggered multiple times a day, so I started avoiding FB and most headlines. So, I haven’t seen the incident you refer to here.

    You’re right, stepping in and stepping in needs to happen. It is tragic that nobody intervened and that self-interest seemingly prevailed.

    Please allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment.

    Sure, there may have been those only concerned about their moment in the spotlight.

    However, filming and sharing is a powerful way of “bearing witness” and, as we’ve seen with BLM can be a catalyst, galvanizing people to action.

    I don’t know everyone’s reasons for not standing up, but, I would say that fear and shock were probably at work. People’s amygdaloid responses of fight, flight, or freeze. Our conditioning has been to freeze or flee.

    No one had volunteered to give up their seats. Some, perhaps many, had children or ill family members they were trying to get to.

    Whatever their reasons, by posting those videos, the man has evidence against the airline and the airline won’t be able to dodge responsibility legally or publicly.

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