I am not a passive consumer of information. So my attendance at the 77th Annual American Humanist Association Conference, in May 2018, was a mixed bag of emotions.
The Association presented an enlightened, informative agenda to us attendees. They tackled issues of animal cruelty, social injustice, and the backlash against feminism. We even had entertainers and political satirists to make us laugh as well as cry.
But, as an attendee, I had a terrible time sitting and merely absorbing. Oh, I clapped appreciatively and asked questions, but the strength of my convictions and fury with the current state of our nation made me want to jump out of my seat and scream.
How can everyone sit quietly? Surely, they aren’t ignoring their emotions? How do they control them? I MUST ACT! NOW! We must do something to make the day-to-day lives of average Americans better!!!
My impulse to act on injustice is a familiar feeling. It began in junior high school, when I watched a Disney movie depicting orcas as man-eating monsters. Oh, the outrage! I fact-checked my fury with our set of Collier’s Encyclopedias, satisfied that I was right – and Disney was wrong.
Then there was the high school debacle, when I kicked a star football player out of the National Honor Society for failing to meet my standards of volunteerism. I had been elected president of our school’s chapter, and in true dictatorial fashion, I created a merit system which required community service hours to continue membership. Said football player had broken his leg. I didn’t care. My standards were not to be modified, in any way, by broken bones; everyone had to volunteer their time to improving the community. The school staff intervened on the football player’s behalf, and I resented them for longer than I care to admit.
Thankfully, wisdom has tempered my expectations of myself and others. But I still feel outrage at injustice, and fretfully wish that human beings were kinder to one another.