What do you stand for?
Who do you stand with?
Of course, I don’t mean the upright posture many of us take for granted but which is denied some with conditions and who have had accidents rendering them unable to stand upright at all or for long periods of time.
Stand in this context is metaphorical and means what you are unwaveringly committed to, your red line not to be crossed. The meaning, purpose and values you have in life that you will not compromise.
What we saw this weekend was a hate speech in public, which compared dedicated, exhausted medical professionals in the UK with those who had become part of a tortuous regime under Nazi rule; and who were held to account in the Nuremberg Trials. This is neither an appropriate link nor is it to be tolerated. It crossed many red lines.
So yes, NHS professionals, teams, people and all who support those at the sharpest possible edge of saving lives and treating people’s health, we have #gotyourbackNHS.
And yes, people who are suffering intolerable prejudice because of their ethnicity and colour of their skin, we’ve also got your back and yes #BlackLivesMatter.
And yes, people and businesses suffering already because of the implications of the UK exiting the EU, we’ve got your back and should come to you for work, support and help in the face of the implications of labour shortages, red tape, a failure of the government to deliver on the promises it based its campaign on which many people voted because of. And many now, regret.
And yes, Planet Earth, many people are taking your ailing state seriously especially those who’ve suffered freak weathers for the last few seasons and where new highs on temperature are proving those right who said we were in danger and the planet is warming. So climate emergency warriors, we’ve got your back.
And people suffering inequality, unfair systems to work in, and many of whom are resigning from over-assertive employers or inflexible arrangements. We’ve got your back too.
Or at least, we should do/have.
We can all take a stand — for what we stand for.
We don’t all HAVE to always publicly declare outrage. That’s sometimes shouting into the wind. But we can do what is right for us. In line with our stand.
I stand for a justice system that is fair and inclusive and allows people to report crime without retribution. So that’s what I did about the horrific display yesterday in London. I didn’t hugely show my outrage on social networks — good though that is some did as it brought it to my attention.
I stand for non-violent protests and displays which is hard in the face of angry, aggressive displays of violent tendencies by some. I stand for fighting fire with foam, not more fire.
I stand for making workplaces detoxified, fair, open, inclusive, liberated and reflective of the needs of the planet, people and purpose in the 21st Century.
Taking a stand, and knowing what you stand for isn’t as easy it might sound.
We’re bombarded with information now more than ever before. So our lives are shaped not JUST by our own experiences, but the mass of media we’re immersed in (actually, often we’re submerged in it and almost unable to breathe).
We may not experience racism because we don’t hear or see it directed towards our friends and loved ones. But they will tell you. And you’ll see it on the street videos and posts online as our recent England Men’s Football Team witnessed. So we make whatever stand we can when it hits our soul, our core, our very being.
That may not be evident to the world. It may that you show support to your closest friends and the world may not see that but it helps and helps you stand for what you believe in without having to publicly demonstrate it.
So keep your stands very much in mind. They might not all be evident to everyone else but it’s not a gold medal sport. It’s your way to do what matters to people who matter to you.
I’ve been “sideways” criticised by people online for not using my “influencer” tag (not self-ordained I might add). And yet, I stand for being pressed into publicly noticeable action by my own rationale, conscience and choice. It’s always more complex than people might try to make out.
Some stands and feats of heroism don’t always come to light. Think of George Michael’s charitable donations and support that only came to our attention once he’d died.
There are many ways to make a stand that you have to feel safe in, have an impact with and are urged into some form of action.
There is a fine line between being complicit, denial and inert in words and deeds that cause toxicity, harmful words and actions to persist. We don’t all have to take to the streets but if you want to, that’s your choice and in many ways to me personally, hugely admirable.
I’m an active reporter on social networks and have been for some time. That might seem like a less brave form of action. But how does a social network provider learn how to deal with their platform being hijacked and used by hateful people if they’re not held to account? By mechanisms, they have to introduce to create safe spaces for people to share things that matter to them and they feel others should know about.
I’ve donated to ecological causes, charities and movements that lobby for change and pressure groups for legislative enforcement of some damaging and harmful practices and approaches.
I follow (online) hunt saboteurs. I hate hunting of any sort. I don’t publicly share things but I donate and support in ways I’m comfortable with. Same with animal cruelty. I’ve written to MPs, senior officials at companies who indulge in the use of real fur and regulators who check on animal welfare in farming.
I don’t go out in all weathers to follow hunts but admire those whose stand is so strong they do. I’ve seen the violence aimed at them and feel the fear even through a video share.
Why don’t I join a saboteur group? I’ve got a widowed father to look after, a wife with a debilitating condition to get through life, a business to run, and people who work with me whose lives depend on that being successful.
I guess many of us are somewhat contained within those life choices and there’s nothing to be ashamed of there. We are often finding ourselves in positions through choice and life that enable full-on activism and in other ways — having a family to care for is just one — we find ourselves torn by activism we feel urged to take but constrained by the life we’re in.
I’m a fully paid-up member of the Green Party and do get tinges of guilt that I can’t attend to some of their promotion and activities. So I guess it’s another “do what I can”.
Yet, if business leaders and politicians really cared about what mattered to the world, others and a sense of justice, we’d not need such extremes of action and having to take matters of law, activism and scrutiny into our own hands.
But we know people get distorted views on life and ally to causes that they stand for. They sometimes happen to be at odds with many of the things the majority of people believe are needed in a fairer, safer more equitable world.
So I do believe the world is a globe, not flat.
There may be an Illuminati controlling the world. If they are, they’re not doing a very good job of it with so much danger and disorder around.
I stand for unity so voted Remain. I don’t believe that exiting the EU was the right thing to do and we’ll see that in the coming years.
I stand for our health. So I do believe COVID-19 is a shared battle for the world and whether lab or naturally occurring, represents a danger to much of the population that needs coordinated action to vaccinate, protect and change the way we live.
I stand for fairness and inclusion. I believe there are learned behaviours brought about by privilege, ignorance and perceived loss that cause people to be divisive to all but people in their own image.
I stand for open education for all. And I believe our education system is broken and needs an overhaul.
I stand for protection and I believe that a civil society invests in health, education and justice without the need to afford it as the parameter of whether you get it.
I stand for equity. I believe we have ridiculous levels of wealth inequality and there are too few people with an unfair share of the world’s economic provision.
I stand for our environment and believe the planet is in peril with an ecosystem damaged by the actions of the human race over the last few hundred years of industrialisation and the use of fossil fuels and precious natural resources that are not being allowed to renew.
I stand for veganism and I believe we unfairly treat many animals we’ve domesticated in the name of food and materials. And we should not hunt animals in the name of sport or some perverted form of pleasure.
I stand for chances. I believe that a diverse population becomes more understanding and inclusive when we share the places and opportunities of life and not exclude, deny, hoard and prejudice others restricting their chances to live a life of fulfilment, joy and value.
So to some, all of this makes me a snowflake, woke, bleeding heart liberal or other multitude of insults.
I say I stand for being me and all of this makes me who I am by what I stand for. Sometimes quietly, sometimes economically choice oriented and sometimes in more visible words and deeds.
There are some innate, unexplainable parameters I have like being generous and positive, and some learned such as the fairness of opportunity in life and work, having come from a social-housing heritage and working-class parents.
What I stand for is to do what’s “right”. A subjective word that many say is dependent on bias, experiences and projection. Someone else’s right is wrong to you.
What’s right in this context is that we can become closer whilst respecting differences. Differences that aren’t harmful to the planet (and all that’s in it and on it) and to other people.
What’s therefore also right is that we think of ourselves always in the context of others — human others, animal others, planet others.
If we achieve great wealth, chance and choice, is that at the detriment of others? If so, that’s not right. Life could be about all winning in some way and not some win and everyone else loses. We are under the illusion that this win/lose equation is how it needs to be. I don’t believe it does. We’ve convinced ourselves it is this way and it feels more an illusion to suit our circumstances. We may hypothetically challenge our intent to live a humble, non-damaging existence but we’ve never really known anything but the feudal, privileged acquisition of gains. Only occasionally have we seen true humanity on display and endure.
Our evolution and psychological and physical constructs have created issues of separation that don’t really exist except in our minds.
Winning and losing is one such construct.
What we could all stand for is a chance to be the best human being we can and in that, are all the other implications of NOT causing irreparable damage to the planet, our ecosystem and animal life, and to the detriment of other people.
I stand for a scale of winning that is equitable, fair, inclusive, restorative, protective, balanced and sustainable. And I stand for doing that in any way I can that may or may not suit others’ definitions.
And yes, again, the people of Health and Social Care — I stand with you and I’ve #gotyourbackNHS.