Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nudge People Forward

"Hey, remember that black family that kind of took you guys in at the Clinton rally?"


"So, they didn't know you at all. They waited all day, fairly, for their spot in line so they could be up front. We could have waited all day if we wanted to be up front, but they saw you guys behind them and helped you move forward. Like, they were willing to sacrifice some of their space to nudge you closer to a historical moment and were also ready to help keep you safe when things got rowdy and they had zero obligation to do so."

"Yeah, they were nice."

"We have to be like them. With everyone, but right now especially with people who are feeling like our country doesn't want them. And you have to be on the look out for people who need a nudge forward or the protection of the place you have in society. Sometimes out of politeness, or to avoid awkwardness, we don't say something -- not just at big moments where someone is being bullied but even if a friend is saying something really unkind privately -- and I'm asking you to say something. A good example is that taped conversation of Trump and that other guy about women. That other guy could've shut it down and I hope you do. Quickly. Every time. Even if you have to make a social sacrifice or may come off as rude. Even if you might get in trouble. Even if the other guy is cool. Remember how that family helped you in spite of our differences and do it everywhere, but especially for people who may already be at a disadvantage."

"Is this about racism? No offense, but that's just not really a thing at my school. I think it's an adult thing, mostly. We all play with everyone, unless they're a jerk, and even then we'll try again when they aren't a jerk."

"Well, keep playing with everyone, even the jerks. I know that's the hard part, but the jerks grow up to feel like the only thing they can be is a jerk since that becomes their thing. And then they end up in a position of power over the same people they were jerks to before. Love the jerks in a way that shows you know they can do better and let them try again."

"Yeah. We do that," he said, as if it was the craziest thing in the world to think they wouldn't.

Have we considered electing a 5th grader? While we're in "Let's see what happens" mode, I think it's worth considering. Also, they've studied government fairly recently and have student council experience, which is a plus.

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