Some Battles Are Worth Fighting - And Losing...

It's a hard reality to face.  It's one that runs in stark contradiction to the ethos of the present day.  We assess cost, risk, profit and loss of every endeavor.  And I feel uncomfortable and (sometimes) embarrassed to talk about fighting battles, because I'd like to be a peacemaker.  In some areas of my life, I am a peacemaker.  Elsewhere, I stir things up unnecessarily, and polarize people who could probably find common ground.  I'm still learning...

Today I'm thinking about battles that are worth the fight, even when it's a losing battle.  MLK Jr. and Gandhi didn't live to see the fruits of their labor.  Neither has the work Martin Luther King Jr. did come to full fruition. 

If you could go back and tell them their efforts would end in death, do you think they would have changed their minds?  Probably not.  And that's not so radical.  Terrorits are that committed, too.  But here's the bigger idea: if their efforts had failed completely, and you could warn them, would it have changed anything?

Some battles are worth fighting, even when we lose.  Maybe it's okay to realize it's a losing battle, and maybe it's not insane to keep fighting.

I hadn't originally thought of this, but the House just voted to extend middle class tax cuts and let tax cuts for the wealthy expire.  They've been accused of posturing, performing, and playing politics, because there's no way it'll clear the Senate.  But sometimes it's worth making the statement that you believe in something, and to demonstrate that there are people willing to take a stand - even when it's a losing stand.  Okay, it's dangerous to go too far with that analogy, because I might be tempted to complain if the roles were reversed (it's just that reversed roles wouldn't be about advocacy for the poor and middle class).

What's really on my heart is all the social issues that still have so achingly far to go.  There are strongholds of misogyny, racism, homophobia and classism in our society, still powerful, defiant, and - in the foreseeable future - impermeable.  Some of those strongholds are wolves in sheeps clothing, wearing progressive accoutrements, talking the talk, while maintaining the status quo.  These are corporations, governments, churches, schools, clubs and anything in-between.

Individuals who stand against them - especially individuals who are themselves from a marginalized group - are going to get crushed.  It's reality.  Institutions self-protect.  But it doesn't mean the battle wasn't worth the effort. 

But can you handle the cost?  Can I?  Fighting losing battles takes immense and devastating sacrifice.  Jesus lost his battle.  But the truth has an upside-down sort of logic: losing is a different kind of victory, with a different kind of result...

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