When to Take a Stand

Take a Stand“Who will rise up for Me against the wicked? Who will stand with Me against evildoers?” ~Psalm 94:16

Thought for the Week

Nazi Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s words burn a hole in my conscience every time I read them. We must always take a stand against oppression, whether from high or low, within our own families, or even our own compromised hearts. However…

We must also strive to discern the difference between oppressors and those whose opinions simply differ from ours, or whom we deem guilty by association.

Last week, after my city’s football team won their first league championship in 33 years, I posted a congratulatory kudo on Facebook. This brought Likes and good-natured jeers from the opposing team’s fans. In short, a good time was had by all.

Except one.

A person I don’t know (not a Facebook friend) called me: “A radical lefty who despises God, America, and Whitey!”

Um, what? Quite a response to a verbal “yay, team!” pennant. And how did he conclude this about me?

He explained:

  1. My city’s team is a member of the NFL (National Football League)
  2. The NFL supports a program called Inspire Change
  3. Inspire Change donates money to social change organizations
  4. Some of those organizations are against racial injustice
  5. Which sometimes leads to public protests
  6. Which have in some instances included violent acts by some people
  7. And/or “defund (dramatically reform) the police” campaigns
  8. Ergo, I despise God, my country, and white people.

I had to fight to keep my fingers from firing every word missile in my arsenal. But I didn’t. Why? Because it would be particularly hypocritical for me to mistake as an oppressor someone who has mistaken me for one. True, his “logic” is breathtakingly illogical. But he’s also, I suspect, highly volatile. How ironic, therefore, if I should be the one who fans the flames of that volatility. So, I joked:

“Gee, am I? I hadn’t noticed. ;>)”

To which he replied, “Work on that.”

To which I answered, “Dear ______, the second I detect anything radically lefty or America-despising about me, I’ll get right on it. I don’t know anyone named Whitey, btw, so I guess I don’t despise him either; unless you mean someone who hates Black people, then, yeah, I do despise him.”

I didn’t win a friend. But neither, I trust, did I top off his burgeoning vat of rage.

Should we take sides against oppressors like Nazi Germany? Yes. Always. Even if we lose our lives in the process. But we must always keep the ultimate objective in mind: Ending oppression and hatred. Not feeding it.

We must always discern when to use our swords (very rarely), when to fall on them (once in our lives), and when to leave them mounted over the fireplace.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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37 Responses to When to Take a Stand

  1. Wow … I never knew you were all THAT, Mitch. Nor did I know what made me an “ignorant troll.” (The label I somehow earned with my Christian response to something on FB.) Seriously, though, it’s really hard to discern today when something annoying that we should just tolerate becomes oppression, which we should fight. (Think “frog in the pot.”) Today I finally spoke up about an issue that was increasingly impacting my family. I pretty much kept silent when adults were making their own decisions concerning themselves, but now that they are deciding for their kids …

    Liked by 5 people

  2. rwfrohlich says:

    Why I quit Facebook. And LinkedIn. And Twitter.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. ejstoo says:

    The thing that concerns me is oppression is up for intrepretation..and seems to have reached the stage in Canada where they are accusing oppression because health and safety measures don’t agree with some. In reaction, a group has taken over a city. DO they believe that they are being oppressed…probably. Are they…well, the Human Rights have thus far thrown out the cases. You see, sometimes people feel oppressed and take it out on a whole group (in this case a city is put in chaos) because people on their own would totally ignore health and safety thereby killing a lot of people with weakened immune systems so it has had to be mandated. In the meantime, the desecrated some pretty important symbols, attacked homeless and made it miserable for people living there. It seems a lot of those people are picking political battles and making victims of themselves and others in the process. Then there are many suggesting that we, the people are not supporting a group who, in fact, it seems has very little to do with the whole thing. Generally the overall group (I have family who are part of the industry) is mostly following the health and safety measures. It is a different group that is protesting and has nothing to do with the actual group. Seems many of them have refused to comply with it, lost jobs … which makes me wonder what else they have refused to comply with and if the health and safety measures were just used as a protest forum. This not being involved for the majority of the career group has been made clear by a lot of the associations that many of them belong to. It has now been turned into politics and apparently religion somehow got dumped in with it. Yeah, I don’t get either. So, some things like a ball game are lovely metaphors. Here’s the thing….do I have less of a right to live than the people who don’t want to get vaccines and follow health and safety measures? It’s a slippery slope either direction. No one wins. Everyone loses. Especially those stuck in the middle by virtue of living in a city taken over. Just a different viewpoint with a different situation. Have a great day 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Oppression is indeed up for interpretation, although in some cases (Nazi Germany, North Korea), once the facts are known, it’s pretty cut-and-dried. Do anti-vaxxers have the right to protest? Yes, that’s democracy. Are their rights being curtailed? Yes, although it’s pretty clear that other people’s rights (not to be exposed) are at odds with those rights. So I’d say it’s arguably not oppression, but a clash between lesser and greater rights, which our imperfect elected governments are attempting to navigate us through. I don’t think there can be winners and losers in a situation like this, only compromise. Ah, humans. Wishing you a great day too, my friend.

      Liked by 4 people

      • ejstoo says:

        Funny you should mention Nazi as I seem to remember reading that there were those at the ‘convoy’ sharing just such things. Plus racist things. Yet, we say how wrong Nazism is and how wrong racism is but don’t understand why that doesn’t get support when shared as part of the “convoy” “protest”. They had a right to protest…something I never questioned. What they did not have a right to do is urinate on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, mess with Terry Fox (a Canadian icon), attacked homeless and honked horns day and night (disturbing the peace for days on end). Now, how does curtailing the rights of a whole city to live their lives, sharing racism and Nazi propaganda signs sound like fighting between lesser and greater rights. This is a political gamble played by rich and politicians who now have managed to also drag religion into it. Using the people that are unhappy and want to oust anything that isn’t in agreement with their fears and conspiracy theories. It has nothing left to do with rights and everything to do with money and political power. Sorry, must disagree. It stopped being about rights about the time they urinated on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. That was pure disrespect. I lost all sympathy when I heard about the homeless being attacked. I hate it now because it is made into politics and religion and 0 to do with human rights. No longer rights….not sure if it ever was. This is what passes for Protest something nowadays. Sad, at one time, they would do their protest and go home and not sit with propaganda of hate and racism for days at a time. From what I saw, I think it was never a protest about rights. It was an agenda that hauled in a lot of disaffected. Everyone wants to get back to normal…but reality is that there are people who are endangered by the lack of facing up to reality. People died, people are having long COVID…so yeah, everyone is sick of it. It isn’t going to go away because people are sick of it. Life doesn’t improve because people take over a place. It doesn’t change because people are sick of something. Things aren’t always fair. It has nothing to do with Truckers and that was made clear by their associations. So, to me the real Truckers out there doing their jobs and probably taking some flack for the stuff in Ottawa are the real heroes. Do their jobs and now put up with extra crap because a bunch decided it was the Truckers doing it. Not in the least….I’m not that silly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Mitch. I admire your restraint. That’s the kind of responses I aim for but sometimes my anger or annoyance gets the better of me. I have gone so far as to get a tattoo on the inside of my right forearm: James 1:19-20. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” When I’m sorely tempted to blow someone out of the water, I reach over and touch my forearm to remind me to cool my jets. Well done, my friend. And as always, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. joyroses13 says:

    A great response! We need to pick our battles and some just aren’t worth the fight. Sorry it happened to you, but you handled it well and turned it into a great post, making good points. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well put Mitch, and sometimes it is a real challenge to decide exactly how to proceed. Thank God, over and over and over for the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Outstanding post, Mitch! Well reasoned and well-stated. “Ending oppression and hatred. Not feeding it.” Yes! Thank you for modeling that difficult skill.

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. revruss1220 says:

    Good rejoinder, Mitch. Thanks for modeling the “count to ten before you reply” approach my mother tried to encourage me to adopt all those years ago.
    I would love to know if this guy (assuming it is a guy, that is) is boycotting the NFL himself, or just trying to bully others into boycotting.
    Congratulations to your Bengals, although their success comes at the price of seeing my Chiefs go to the Super Bowl.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Thanks, and yes, it’s a guy, with a lot of misdirected testosterone. I took a look at his Facebook page–he seems to consider about 90% of Americans anti-American. Re. Bengals, yeah, sorry about that. We’re also ending up rooting against the Rams, our original homeland team. Ah, well, Who Dey! ;>)

      Like

    • K.L. Hale says:

      Mitch and Russell, I apologize for using this wonderful piece of writing to share with Russ that the WP Gremlins that will not let me in his space! I MIGHT have a comment awaiting? About the Chiefs loss well, since they’re not in it I’m cheering on the Bengals! I quit FB in 2018 and have never looked back. Mitch, your post, and your response, was well-done. Your last 2 paragraphs sum it all up perfectly!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mark Johnson says:

    The world has gone mad, Mitch. Kudos to you for taking the high road. Too many people, like your “friend “, use social media as a weapon. By the way, I’m rooting for the Bengals on Sunday, because it’s time we saw a new team raise the trophy.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. gregoryjoel says:

    I appreciate your post Mitch. I believe anyone can have a difference of opinion and differences in beliefs. Unfortunately, many opinions voiced today are oppressive and quite frankly, immoral. They embody hate towards the “other”, forgetting that the “other” is created in the image of God. I have toned down the response to those who differ from me and seek to find a teaching moment instead of an argument. I wish it worked all the time but it doesn’t. I’ve had to distance myself from old friends and even family and love them from afar because the differences hurt them and I.

    I wish I had an answer to my dilemma but whatever the resolution is it must always include speaking up in the face of injustice, racism, and oppression. To be silent is to be complicit with the injustice. One of my favorite quotes is from Archbishop Desmond Tutu – “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate you neutrality.”

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I once found a quotation on Pinterest that is printed out and hung on the wall where I can see it each time I look up. “Be sure to taste your words before spitting them out!” It has saved me a lot of grief since at times my temper gets the better of me. As for the “friend” on FB, that happened to me several times and I just stopped going there for a long time, even to the point of quitting. But those reasons? Geez! What a crock! Great post, as usual.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Oh my! I’ve had to keep my mouth shut many times. Or my fingers from typing. So much I WANT to say. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  14. ABoomer says:

    Well done – and well said! You showed amazing restraint & poise when outrageously and unjustly accused. WWJD? I think you nailed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. murisopsis says:

    Excellent post! My sons mantra is “Don’t feed the trolls” so my approach is ignore, refuse to engage, and if they persist, simply delete the comments. There is however a tipping point when a response is required. I love how you handled the situation! As for the Bengals, I’m digging out my orange sweater to wear to the Super Bowl/ Chili Cook-off party on Sunday!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. The world is slowly going mad, or I am. The only way I keep sane and calm while browsing social media is to play positive affirmations in the background.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. alsavignano says:

    If your team wins, I will be happy for you. Don’t let the nonsense dampen your spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

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