I Will Stand Up

I will stand up. I will stand up. Whichever side wins in this election, or any election, I will stand up. The burning flame in me will not be quenched, though depravity and corruption stalk the land, though false choices and false dichotomies haunt the public square, though injustice charms us with false flattery. I will strive to see through it, and I will stand up.

I am not so arrogant as to dare to challenge the waves to recede at my command, but I will pick up my cockle shell and for the love of God I will bail the boat, and tie myself to the mast. I will stand up, with the colors pinned across my breast. I will stand against all four winds if I must. Let the banner be torn to shreds by them, and the mast worn to splinters. Still, I will stand up.

I will stand up any of you who need one more voice to join your ancient song along the waters of Standing Rock, and to combat a culture that values money more than life and the treasures unearthed by greed more than the treasures planted by the spirit. May we remember that all life is interconnected and our environment is a sacred trust, not for us to strip, but for us to cultivate and preserve, learning from the wisdom of plant and animal, earth, water, air, and fire.

I will stand up for you, fleeing refugees cast into the sea, for all of us here are the sea’s offspring, and we are all exiles in this veil of tears. Likewise will I reach out my hand to you, immigrants of parched ground, and mend your barb wire cuts, and help you dig for life in the hot sands of death. May we find practical solutions to humanitarian crisis for the benefit and safety of all while never forgetting the human stories, the human faces, and the human hearts that make up the greatest drama and must always be front and center in our minds.

I will stand up for you, impoverished and scorned outcasts of a stony generation, where each man’s own purse is his mirror-idol, encapsulating his worldly worth and robbing the weak, and mocking those who have not known the privileges of the purse-holders. May we learn that we are not islands who cannot feel each other’s pain, but let us be trees, sending each other needed nourishment through our roots in the same ground.

I will stand up for you, marginalized minorities, experiencing hatred and bigotry, misunderstanding and rejection around the world, including in this “land of the free.” Your differences have made you stand out for abuse, but I am confident that together in good will for all, diversity in unity can become a blessing not a curse. Islamic, Hispanic, Native, African, and European Americans alike weave our tapestry and have always made us great. Even to those whose lifestyle choices I disagree with, your rights and securities I will stand up for against all unjust prejudice and aggression.

I will stand up for you, women of dignity, whose worth is bartered cheap by cruel men’s usury and a cruel world’s materialism, selling you for a commodity price, a play-thing instead of the font of intuition, source of energy, cauldron of inspiration, and chalice of life’s beginning that you are. May we live in a culture where men and women embrace their unique equality, honoring and completing one another a society of balance and harmony.

I will stand up for you, unborn children cradled in the womb of life’s beginning, without a cry to voice your suffering as executioner’s sterile tools tear you apart, your personhood lost in the blinding of desperation and a world that banishes you to the fringes, yes, unto the manger straw, and your worth is forgotten in the circumstances through which you were brought into being. May we meet again those eyes that sea ourselves in your, and feel your growth in our bodies and heartbeat in our blood, and know that we are one and the same, and equally deserving of protection and care.

I will stand up for all those oppressed all those downtrodden, for all those who need the strength to raise their eyes to the sky. At the same time, I will do my part to clear the sand of indifference from the eyes of the blind, for each one of us gazes into our own unique oblivion which must be banished in order for us to find our true selves. Wherever justice needs serving, I pray God to serve it, for justice to one is justice for all, and must be championed no matter who sits in the Oval Office.

We must reach life-affirming solutions on a grass-roots level, and change our world through our daily presence in it. Each of us will find our own way of standing up. For me, it is the scratch of the pencil and the click of the keyboard. It is the beat of the drum, the skirl of the whistle, and the resonance of voice. We all must find stories worth telling, and then tell them over and over and over again until the world responds to them.

We must maintain our autonomy and integrity, and shun the prison of brand name and partisan squabbling. We are children of the word, scrawled in ink or voiced aloud, it is the symbol of the living, and must be used to bring rainwater to the dead sea, and to split the ocean of apathy so that we may walk across, our feet bear and bleeding, on dry ground. And then we shall know what it is to stand up, and feel the sea-spray on our faces and life in our lungs. Then we will truly sing the song of freedom.

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