Speaking Out

I've written before on the death penalty and our prison system as it pertains to children and people of color.  Anti-death penalty is another label (like vegan and pro-choice) that I am happy to use, a mantle I wear proudly.  I have more experience with the justice and prison systems than most who know me would expect, and I think that this experience informs and shapes my veganism-as-anti-oppression philosophy.  It is part of the reason I strive to buy organic and fairly traded produce and clothing, avoid retailers that rely on sweatshop and child labor, and buy handmade and local when possible.  It's all connected and in this imperfect, hyper-commodified, capitalist world, I want my dollars to do good work.

I mention all of this only because of a disturbing dream I had last night.  I was a lawyer working a trial in some German Expressionist courtroom.  I have no idea the whys or wherefores, or even the outcome of the trial.  The only thing that is still stark and clear in my mind is this moment: the judge, wild haired and crazy-eyed, stands and leans cartoonishly out over the bench at me.  He points at me, all imperiousness.  "Sometimes the only thing to speak to a man's innocence is that man.  That does not negate the fact of his innocence.  Ten years from now, when the lies are revealed and the truth is known, the world will look at you."

It was terrifying . . . and true

I realized as I awoke, that I am far too much the armchair activist and, that I need to start speaking my mind more.  Amongst friends, family, and colleagues, I often hold my tongue (which may seem surprising to those who know me!) in an effort to keep the peace.  Sometimes in an effort to keep a powerful conversation from being derailed, sometimes in an effort to just let something hurtful, ignorant, or wrong-headed slip on by because I am too tired, anxious, or angry to deal with it.  When it is the latter, I am not being honest with myself or with those I love.  And I am certainly not doing all I can to make my small slice of the world a better place.  So less commiserating with the converted in empty halls and behind closed doors and more honest engagement on issues that matter to me (in real and internet life).

1 comment:

  1. I love that you are true to your convictions. It's an admirable quality!

    In a sort of related note to your post, I highly suggest you read Somewhere Inside by Laura and Lisa Ling. The whole trial thing made me think of it. Really good book and gave me a ton of insight on such an oppressive place such as North Korea. Thank God we live in a country that allows us to speak our minds! (Most of the time)