Martin Luther King in his Letter from a Birningham Jail laments the "moderate whites" and "do-nothing Negros." There position on segregation is "bewildering." Better, he says to be against him than apathetic.
From the safety of a more integrated society, I can comfortably agree with King on the principle: say what you believe and believe what you say; don't avoid taking a position merely to ensure you are secure or don't offend. In easy times, your inaction is cowardice. In hard times, your inaction is a danger to society and civilization.
I have heard stories about "the Greatest Generation" - how they stood for something, spoke up about it, acted on it. The Boomers also marched and stood and sat-in. What does my generation do? We post to Move on. I am not even sure I know what standing on principle looks like.
OK, that's not entirely fair. There are some amazing individuals. But I don't see the mass movement. Can effective protests and social movement really be made in the bloggosphere? All I ever here is "watch what you post; your future employer may be watching."
I want to show my children how to speak and act with conviction. They do it so well, already. So what is it exactly that I am standing for? The Dalai Lama stands for altruism, compassion and non-violence in its many relevant forms. OK. I am there. I am a Buddhist, anyway, so that makes sense. But how this translates to daily life, this question still frustrates me.