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It takes so little courage ...
It's amazing how many people go through life with so little courage. Catching up this week with two friends who had been through A LOT left me shaking my head yet again about the way some people live such petty lives just because they are afraid - of stuff that is really such nothing!
Recently, a gentleman I had known for years died. When his name came up, a friend of mine commented,
"We were in Manzanar together. I remember being just a little kid and he was always kind to me and looked out for me."
ht of the journey my friend had made in life from the Japanese internment camp to now, at nearly age 70, having been an international athlete, had a renowned career, a published author, the father of several adult children. In between those times, he had his wild days. There were a few years when every time I saw him, he was with a new woman. As he put it,
"I wasn't always a role model."
My second friend took a different path. We both received scholarships to the same university. I graduated. He dropped out the first semester and went back to the barrio. He was arrested twice for murder, which was reduced to manslaughter. Went to prison twice. He was nearly killed in a prison riot, but survived. He also has several adult children now and is retired on disability. He worked at some manual labor jobs for a while but the years of hard living took a toll on his body.
So ... here we all are now, three friends for 40 years, who started out in a very similar spot 40 years ago. None of us came from homes with money and privilege. We all made choices and, for better or for worse, now we live with them.
Speaking about the BP oil spill, comedian Bill Maher when asked how he would answer those people who said if off-shore oil drilling was restricted then they would lose their jobs responded,
"Fuck your job!"
So, other people's jobs may be lost through oil spills, several years from now, you may lose your own job for any reason, the environment may be hurt, thousands of animals will be killed, but all of that is okay because you are afraid to have to look for another job. You might even have to move to another state.
And I think of my friend and his family losing their home, everything they owned and being forced to move several hundred miles from home.
And I think of my other friend coming out of prison and after decades, turning his life around. As the Grateful Dead said,
"What a long, strange trip it's been."
When you look at the things my friends have been through, the lives they have led, it's hard to really convince yourself that you cannot speak out against fraud in the work place, provide written testimony to an investigation on sexual harassment or quit a job in an organization that is completely unethical. What is the worst that will happen? I doubt they'll put you in an internment camp or send you to prison.
Have some courage and do the right thing, for God's sake!
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