Our moral obligation in this moment

At the Women's March on NYC, January 21, 2017 At the Women’s March on NYC, January 21, 2017

First, yesterday was AWESOME. I participated in the NYC march (here’s an album of my photos) and haven’t felt so optimistic and energized in months. GO US.

Now, like so many people, my attention is focused on what’s next. How do we build on yesterday’s energy and momentum to create positive change? To protect and assist those who need it most? To create an America where all lives are treated with dignity and our basic human rights are protected? Where our children can see role models in government who emulate the values we hold most dear, including basic human decency?

Jordan recently shared an article with me about running for office that is exactly the call to arms we need in this moment.  I’d like to quote it here at length:

“For you fortunate graduates of elite colleges, considering a run is practically a moral imperative given some of the most popular alternatives available to you. Do not tweet about the horrors that could await American Muslims and scamper off to an entry-level position at Booz Allen Hamilton. We have enough Teachers for America, enough SAT tutors, enough underpaid listicle artisans and GIF wranglers. We’ll live with a smaller crop of interns at J.P. Morgan or junior analysts at Goldman. The essential app you are developing is not essential and will never be. In grad school for the social sciences? The humanities? Quit immediately. And do not come to Washington unless you’ve been sent there by ballot. Spare no thoughts for the think tanks; there are better uses for your time than preparing white papers for uninformed members of Congress—such as unseating said members of Congress.”

— Osita Nwanevu in Slate

Amen. Amen, amen, amen.

It is time to align how we spend our daylight hours with creating the positive change we seek. Now, as some have argued, eloquently, creating change comes in many forms. If your day job isn’t explicitly about rebuilding our country or creating the future we want for our children, maybe you contribute by donating part of your paycheck to organizations working for the change you seek.

But I appreciate Nwanevu’s call to arms, because the truth is, we should all, as concerned citizens, be having this conversation with ourselves. We should be real with ourselves about what’s at stake and how, in the annals of history, we want our contributions to be recorded. And if we’re telling ourselves a soothing narrative about how it’s ok that we aren’t doing more, now is the moment to drag that narrative into the sunlight and see if it’s really true.

It is our moral obligation to do so.

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