The pandemic exposed some massive flaws in our society. The way business is done, the reliance on false markers and artificial job expectations have been laid bare like never before.
All those bosses claiming work-from-home was impossible? Clearly, not true. And if you didn’t believe teachers did a nearly impossible job, I would bet your opinion has changed.
The pandemic is NOT over. But it has taken a backseat to the broad exposure of systemic racism across police forces and politics in the wake of George Floyd’s senseless murder. People are protesting police brutality and the ongoing violations of people’s rights while getting away with murder — literally.
Black Lives Matter is a literal statement. Yes, it is also a movement — and like any movement has extremists within it.
Even the most well-meaning can get caught up in the fervor of social justice, change, and working for progress and the greater good. But some get SO involved and so focused on the end result that they get a bit tunnel-visioned.
While many will take a near-identical position and stance on certain matters, not all will. There are always shades and degrees in nearly every argument. Some people want instant and immediate change while others seek it more gradually.
By the same token, some can change like the flip of a switch, while others change gradually, in increments, over a longer time.
The allies to your cause may not be in the exact place where you are. They may have some imperfections. But they are still your allies. Turning on them only helps the other side.
Imperfect allies are still an ally
I am a white, straight, middle-aged, cis-gendered male living in the Northeast United States. I have a certain degree of privilege I am well aware of. I also know that my upbringing in the Midwest — amid very few minorities in the 1980s — colored my perceptions of the world.
I am an ally of progress. I stand with the protestors because I believe that Black Lives Matter. The maltreatment by a system drowning in systemic racism needs to be changed.
I stand with immigrants. Between COVID-19 and the current unrest, we forget that there are still internment camps across the country where immigrants and asylum seekers are being held because the government is run by some assholes. Don’t even get me started on the ludicrous border fence being built.
I am a feminist. I grew up with my mom and sister and have always believed women to be totally the equal of men. It utterly baffles me that anyone has a perception that women are weaker or not entitled to the same treatment and pay as men.
Love is love. I am a supporter of LGBTQA+ etcetera. It matters not at all to me what gender you identify as, whether you love someone of the same sex, multiple peoples, or are asexual. Your life is yours and who you choose to be intimate with or not doesn’t phase me. I support your right to equality and lawful treatment.
Why are so many people so afraid of people who are not like them?
Because I am not black or another minority, female, LGBTQA, or an immigrant to this country I am an imperfect ally. I am incapable of experiencing the awfulness you have to fight to be treated equally because of where I come from.
However, I choose to stand with you.
Save your ire for the opposition
It is extremely disheartening when I see people turn on their allies. More than once I have had it happen to me where someone got offended by my inability to walk a mile in their shoes. Or my stance that is almost but not completely identical to theirs on some issue or other.
I understand that the struggle is wearisome and that you are frustrated, tired, angry, and probably totally crispy-fried. We all have a limited amount of energy to use, so tempers get short and the fight can feel never-ending.
But please consider that while imperfect, your ally is still on your side.
What that comes down to is looking to the opposition. White supremacists, blatant racists, misogynists, bigots, science deniers, and those who take a stand against progress are that opposition. They hold onto beliefs that range from simply untrue to hateful to spiteful to entitled up to and including surreal.
These people cling to their beliefs like they are the end-all-be-all of life, the Universe, and everything. Without what they believe, they have nothing. Which is ironic, since many of the woes and injustices they attribute to their beliefs are lies based on that belief.
Then, just to fuel the fire, many so-called leaders use these false beliefs to create the “other” that they can look to as the problem. All their woes lie at the feet of the “other.” They convince these people that ridiculous things like women working instead of being at home raising the kids, black people being suspect, gays influencing your children, immigrants taking jobs from hard-working ‘Muricans, liberals destroying family values, and other inane notions about the “other” are destroying the fabric of our society.
These people stand against you. Your allies stand with you, even if they are imperfect.
Consider that done is better than perfect
Maybe your allies do not want all of the exact same changes that you do. Maybe they want a portion of the change. It’s also important to consider if the parts they are less gung-ho about are as important to the heart of the matter — or secondary and mutable.
The core issue is what you need allies for the most. So even if there are secondary and tertiary matters they are not completely onboard with, they still are your ally. They still desire to help you change the world for the better and to help progress along.
They may be incapable of accepting quick change and need things to happen more gradually. This is why, for example, the progressives running for the Democratic nomination didn’t catch fire. Joe Biden is imperfect for a LOT of reasons — but he practices kindness and empathy and will likely surround himself with similar people to repair the damage the current administration is doing.
You can dislike Biden — many people do. But he IS a quintessentially imperfect ally. Trump and most of his cohorts stand in the way of progress, and if given another 4 years will probably wreck the nation beyond repair.
My point is that imperfect an ally though he is, Biden is an ally. Please consider that in November (unless something changes and the Dems choose someone else to run) and get out there and VOTE!
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. What you consider perfect I may consider flawed. Your allies may not be on the same exact page as you are — but they still desire to help progress along. Try to be understanding and kind in the face of their imperfection.
Turning on an ally due to their imperfection only makes the opposition stronger.
Practice kindness and empathy
There is a major lack of kindness and empathy towards people today. This is evident in how the political and business leaders of our society make it clear they care only for the money and not at all for the people. Supporting the absurd protests against the stay-at-home orders and opening too soon will undoubtedly cause needless deaths.
I read an article yesterday about how the surge in the stock market is being fueled by ludicrous speculation with no basis in reality. It benefits only a very small few — yet somehow, it’s the gage for “economic wellbeing.”
Sadly, it’s an utter crock of shit. But I digress.
You are capable of being kind and empathetic. Focusing on those who are not can’t and won’t change them. The only person you have control over is you.
But when you practice kindness and empathy that can influence the practices of others.
The collective consciousness is made up of a shared experience deemed to be reality. That can be changed, but only one person at a time. When you find allies with the same desire for progress and change as you, stand together (but six-feet apart, please — COVID-19 isn’t gone) and share in your empowerment.
Remember that progress is not easy — and turning on imperfect allies helps nobody. Your imperfect ally is still your ally. Don’t focus on the ways they are imperfect — focus instead on how they are an ally, the help they offer, and what you can do together to combat the opposition.
I am your ally. What can I do to help you make progress and make the world a better place?
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, as do our allies for change — perfect or not.