Free-flowing days are the best.
I used to hate days like this with every fiber of my being. Those days where I’m not scheduled to do anything or be anywhere. “Oh god, whatever will I do with myself?” used to be my train of thought in these situations. Now, not so much.
After spending my morning sleeping in until noon (because “exhaustion”), I spent my afternoon at a violin concert [held in a church in the Pittsburgh area] for my friend Anat. I’d seen her play before here and there, but this was the first time that I’d seen her play in a more formal setting. And wow, is she talented!
She plays with such concentration, such emotion, and such joy! And as she furiously played different concertos & sonatas, my mind began to relax. I became ‘at ease’. This was talent. This was passion incarnate. And I had the honor of sharing a space with it for a few hours.
I’ve also experienced passion in a different context this week with the outrage over the Ferguson debacle. Many of my friends and associates were/are passionately outraged over the decision, which I can understand in some respects. Some even went to protests designed to raise awareness on the issue. I cannot help but to feel that this passion is fleeting, though. Sure, we need protesters in order for society to continue to function as a democracy and not morph into a dictatorship. To wait until issues reach a boiling point to address them, though, is nothing short of irresponsible.
And to show spurts of passionate intensity, only to revert back to a state of steady apathy, harms us all in the long run. It leads those of us that are involved with social issues on a regular basis to believe that we have more allies than we actually do. For movements of social justice & equality to ultimately succeed, we have to have people that are consistently motivated to do the right thing. That means taking action at times other than when the media shows us an especially troubling case on television and in newspapers.
It is not a show of disrespect when someone says “People die everyday.” It’s absolutely true. I say that to people to make the point that we should be constantly vigilant about instances of wrongdoing by people that are supposed to be our leaders. We should be vigilant, and we need to hold them accountable for their actions – every single time.
I have to wonder how many protesters voted this year in the midterm elections. This question isn’t meant to down anyone; however, one cannot continue allowing the same ineffective leaders to hold their positions – and then demand change when dire circumstances hit us. Also, simply voting in elections and claiming that one’s job as a citizen is done is a failing strategy. For everyone that made it to the polls a few weeks ago, thank you from the bottom of my heart. But, that’s only half of the solution. The other half is holding these guys and gals to the standard of doing what is in the public’s better interests. They can only get away with wrongdoing if we allow them to. And we have allowed them to get away with their misdeeds for far too long.
We need protesters and rallies because these visual displays of passionate outrage show our leaders that we demand change. Consider this, though: our leaders do not take us seriously because many of us do not participate in the democratic process on a regular basis. Our participation is rare, if it exists at all. And really, why should we be taken seriously if we only show up when the US is on the absolute brink of ruin? I’m not giving our leaders a free pass, but we all have a stake in how our nation is run. Don’t abdicate your responsibilities, and then ask for your throne only when it’s convenient for you. We are all captains, and if this ship goes down, we’re all going with it. Do your part consistently, and do it with steady passion.
My friend Anat knows the principle of passion perfectly, and she taught it to me by the masterful playing of her violin.