07/22/2013 05:13 EDT | Updated 09/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Why I Don't Picket or Chain Myself to Anything


Unless you've been living in a sleeping bag with your smartphone and a bag of Skittles, you know that there are some pretty squirrely things going on in the world right now.

Big, big things that shout out to be shouted at.

And smaller just-plain-wrong things that we all encounter every day as we go about our daily chores and chuckles.

But these things that bother you (some of which could wipe out all living things except apparently cockroaches and mold) won't just fix themselves or go away because you and I click Like. You won't wake up one morning, check your smart phone, and see a pop-up announcing that all kids in Africa are suddenly happy and healthy and no longer have flies in their eyes.

And if you're at all like me, you don't do the whole picketing thing. Or hunger strikes. Or solidarity tattoos. I don't Occupy. I don't Anonymous. I don't wear different-coloured rubber wrist bands on different days for different causes. I might buy the t-shirt but I likely won't wear it except to sleep in.

You see, I think most of us care but don't want to take on the world or its woes. We just want to help change some things. Without chaining ourselves to anything and getting pepper sprayed thank you very much.

But it has no impact at all to quietly tsk tsk tsk, shake our heads and think that "someone" really should do something about big things and small things. We're used to minding our own business and saying nothing about anything really.

So here's a low-maintenance way to help unscrew the screwed up... say something.

Out loud. As in vocal chords. And lips. And real non-threatening but firm words. Not just in typed words like I'm writing.

Say something when your Uncle Stu refers to someone as a "faggot" at the family backyard barbecue.

Say something when a know-it-all sums up government snooping with that chestnut of a cliche... "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about."

Say something if you don't want your Heinz Beans to be little genetic jigsaw puzzles.

Say something when the office bully bullies.

Say something about fracking if you think it's wrong. About the 1% who own so much. About whistle blowers. About abortion. About offshore tax evaders. About coal-fired power plants. About jailing marijuana puffers. About politicians who think they're fooling you. About something that bugs you.

You don't have to give a speech or be angry or make anything your life's cause. You don't have to get in fist-fights.

Just start saying what most people are thinking. When someone says or does something that is high-level stupid, or right from the 1950s, or selfish, hurtful, bigoted, uninformed, or just straight out lying, that person needs to hear that it is wrong.

It won't change them right there and then...they won't thank you and ask for a hug. But it is a nudge in the right direction and puts it out there that loudly calling poop hamburger doesn't make it edible.

The word "evolve" is being used a lot by people who have changed their opinions on everything from same-sex marriage to climate change, from wage gaps to women's health rights. And it's a good word. Everyone is entitled to evolve their opinions over time as they learn more and feel more.

If you dismiss this as bleeding heart slop... take a deep breath, stop presuming you're right about everything, let your guard down, and maybe listen to what other people are saying. Corny as it sounds, saying something is honest and 100% spineless jellyfishing going on.

You might be surprised how many others are thinking like you and just not speaking up. And they might follow your lead by just muttering a simple, supportive "Yeah." Baby steps.

Not to get all grandiose and lofty on you here but we don't need a revolution. We need an evolution.

So say something about good things. And say something about squirrely things.

It's a small thing to speak up. But it actually takes a bit of pluck and courage. And it feels good. And it works. Slowly. But it works.

Do it simply. Do it firmly. Do it without anger.

Say something.


Writing for La Opinion

Steve Boyd

Co-Founder Of The Lapine