Sunday I watched a wonderful interview Oprah did with Dr. Brene Brown and it was filled with so many great thoughts and truths. But the first one that struck me has stayed with my now for the last three days. She was sharing how she came up with the title of her most recent book Darling Greatly and I won't spoil the story for you but part of it stemmed from people posting rude comments after she did a TEDXTalk. Mostly focused on saying mean things about her looks. After she came upon a quote from Theodore Roosevelt she was determined to not pay attention to people not in the arena and putting themselves in the game. She challenged anonymous commenters to:
Put your name on it. Own it!OWN station irony aside... BRAVO, Brene, Bravo!!!!
One of the beautiful things about technology is that we have instant access to communicate with more people than ever; the downside is more people can hide behind a screen typing things they would never say to someone's face in real life. And here is the thing: her talk was wonderful, she is a beautiful woman, and she was asked to speak, she wasn't hollering at someone in the town-square. Those nasty people came to the posted talk, chose to watch it, and the only criticism they could come up with was cheap shots at her appearance?
If an accomplished woman allowed herself to be wounded by these cowards, imagine what teens and kids go through when they are bullied and don't have the intellect and experience to put these barbs aside?!
I was still mulling this over when I attended a talk last night by Arundhati Roy, part of which adressed the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. While I don't agree with all her views, she nailed it when it came to the wars we have fought this decade and the destruction and cost they have wreaked.
Obviously some hurtful comments are not even remotely comparable to the loss of life and harm caused in a war-- however there is a connection between how easily we throw around words and actions and then avoid owning, standing behind, and cleaning up the aftermath.
Dick Cheney even today claims he would do it all over again (a person who conveniently deferred his military service). President George Bush is at home painting self-portraits of himself in the bath while soldiers and their families are trying to put back together their lives if they've been lucky enough to still be here.
I am not a pacifist, I think war is sometimes necessary. But I don't think the last two were worth it and the Iraq War was a foreseeable mistake. And I would resolutely say this to all involved.
We should never be fearful of speaking up, sticking up for convictions, or even going at someone if our lives or country depends on it... but even with minor things like TEDTalk comments, let it not be us throwing bombs and leaving a path of destruction for others to live with. The very least we can do is: put our names on our thoughts, words, and actions... and own it!