I’ve been asked this many times over the years.
The answer is this: I don’t know how to consistently write things that AREN’T about injustice. I’m driven to right the wrongs around the world, like the fire drives a locomotive. I’m, at my core, an activist for social justice; and I run a blog about fighting injustice. Injustice is depressing.
And I don’t think we should look away from injustice. It’s wrong to turn your back on others’ pain.
Obama was right when he said:
Obama warned against what he called the dangers of silence, saying that every day, somewhere in the world people must resist the urge to turn away from scenes of horror, hate, injustice and intolerance.
All people, he said, must “fight the impulse to turn the channel” from distressing TV images of suffering, the sort of inhumanity known not only in the time of Nazi Germany, but more recently in Northern Ireland, Rwanda and Darfur.
Obama declared that people cannot wrap themselves “in the false comfort that others’ sufferings are not our own.” The president also called for people to “make a habit of empathy, to recognize ourselves in each other.”
“But Nick, my life is happy. Why bring myself down with all the pain and injustice in the world?”
The fallacy behind this is the assumption that you’re somehow separate from the young refugee in Sri Lanka or the Janjaweed rapists in Darfur or the unethical investment bankers on Wall Street or the hungry children of unemployed single mothers in Ohio. We are connected to everyone, we share common ancestors, one people, united, part of one universal force.
We are ONE. As John Donne put it:
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Meditation 17, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)