it’s rad to support radicals

if they want things to change, liberals & progressives must be more openminded and supportive of radicals

(this is an appeal to liberals & progressives to embrace radicals and their revolutionary ideas. if you are a liberal or progressive friend of mine and have ever taken offense to the views or ideas i’ve shared, this could be a good read for you.)

we all everyday, in small seemingly insignificant ways, make choices to participate (or not) in systems that we know to be harmful to others & that perpetuate injustice.

it’s a tough choice for us all — but especially radicals — because the only option that doesn’t harm will inevitably harm us individually.

here’s why:

for not playing along, society will ensure we pay all the social, economic, physical, psychological & emotional tolls, fees, and fines possible — and then pile on some punitive costs that our puritanical & retributional society decided are “reasonable” punishment for being a noncooperatist or a nonconformist.

and we will lose the friends and family who expect us to keep making the harmful choice or expect our support/complicity in the form of our silence while they continue to make decisions to cooperate with systems, institutions, and people who harm others.

and when we don’t support their ongoing choices to comply with harmful norms based in bigotry, misogyny, white supremacy — and in order to maintain good standing in the bourgeoisie — they eventually will distance themselves from us. both them and we both begin to realize: we are a liability to their comfort socially, financially, and morally.

after a while we won’t hear much more directly from them, but we’ll hear a lot of them insecurely talking about us — passing judgement on us. they will take every opportunity to twist our words and misrepresent us and our actions in ways that make others fearful to even associate with us.

they will use sensational rumors, hyperbole, either/or & binary reasoning, speculation, and assumptions to tear us down and tear our reputations apart. in their mind it becomes either us or them. their world is full of judgement, guilt, and shame — and as a radical, its so frustrating and sad to see them walk away from the tough convos.

most friends will choose their liberal, moderate, and even progressive conformities over us. they will prioritize their comfort. they’ll claim it’s because of us and our uncooperative and disruptive behaviors. we know they are only doing so to avoid confronting or even acknowledging their own internal moral conflicts, their own questions and doubt surrounding their life choices and complicit behaviors — and because they are confused and in disbelief or outraged at us because we won’t “go along to get along”, “grin and bear it”, “suck it up”, or “be cool”.

and then one day we’ll realize something: our friendship wasn’t one that mattered too much to them if they chose comfort and perpetuation of harm onto others over engaging in an honest conversation about what keeps them conforming to, cooperating with, or even at times defending a harmful system.

it’s very messy & uncomfortable and in so many ways. it’s much riskier to live a radical life of noncooperation and nonconformity. and yes, without support and care from courageous friends & family — without those who are willing to be challenged — without those willing to stand by us while the rest of society sends their antibodies to tear us apart — without those brave souls who curiously seek out deeper understanding and make time and space for their own growth — and without them willing to reserve judgement and have the humility to understand why we are so unwilling to conform or cooperate — without that understanding and solidarity, we become broken, lost, and eventually heartbroken.

the conformists will write us off in all the ways that would prevent them from actually addressing and reflecting upon their feelings or examining their own insecurities and internal tensions around the choices they’ve made and the less harmful choices we made. if we already made them aware that their choices harm others, then don’t be surprised how they — with little hesitation — will diminish us or dismiss us by:

1) calling us crazy

2) making ridiculous assumptions and jumps of logic about the kind of people we must be

3) talking more about us than conversing with us or seeking to understand us

4) saying we’re disrespectful or uncivil for speaking up and naming a harm or their complicity in systems of harm

5) saying we lack civility and respect for authority. blocking us on twitter and saying we’re “cruel and nasty” for taking the time to share our opinions

6) post our picture, name, home address, email and phone number so anonymous white supremacist, nazis, and even fragile moderates can call us up and send us death threats and follow us when we take our dog for a walk

7) call us cucks, incels, and soyboys.

8) contact our work, place of worship, and any other community orgs to which we belong, to get us fired, kicked out, divide us, and/or put us at odds.

we need liberals, progressives, and moderates to get curious about why in god’s name radicals take on the social, financial, physical, emotional & psychological risks?!

we need more radicals (and radically friendly people) in our justice movements. it becomes really easy to appreciate those who listen — but we must reserve our love, time, and labor for those who seek deeper understanding around the choices radicals make and risks radicals take.

our true friends are genuinely curious and committed to seeing us for who we are, what we actually believe in, and what we stand for. they begin to understand how harmful it can be for them to resort back to their default conditioning that supports oppressive systems impacting our lives. our true friends take a critical and introspective approach to the feelings that come up for them that may have otherwise impeded their judgement-free supporting of us. they understand their fragility is the barrier to overcome in their internal work — not an opportunity to project their insecurity onto us.

do you like the movie “The Matrix”?

if not, i invite you to stop here and go watch it tonight.

let’s be a Dozer, Trinity, or Morpheus.

let’s not be a cyrus, an agent, or a slave to the systems that routinely violate even the most basic universal human rights of self-determination. let’s live more justly and refuse to let the systems hurt any more people in our name while we stay silent and complicit.

let’s unplug from this matrix for a moment and become aware of the systems that have us, that coerce us, and that own pieces of us. let’s find ways to unplug us all from oppressive systems forged in racism, sexism, classism, imperialism, ableism, intellectualism, cynicism — and every harmful “_______ism” that robs us of our humanity and impedes our ability to grow into authentic relationship & community with one another.

author’s note: i’m really grateful for those who support radicals like me. and you don’t have to be a radical to associate with radicals! all you need is an open mind, a willingness to be challenged and respond with introspection instead of hostility. if you are willing to hear radical ideas and be open to transformation — we want to talk with you.

i’m hoping/wishing/praying that everyone — even fellow radicals — continue to do the tough but important work to understand how they can contribute positively to a world where the majority are conditioned to ignore tough questions, avoid confrontations and conflicts at all cost — while never questioning who is affected, impacted, or harmed.

god forbid we disrupt it, not cooperate or conform to it. god forbid we make a fuss, a scene, or a big deal out of something that is worthy of holding tension and escalation (when necessary) when oppressive forces continue and increasingly cause more harm with impunity.

folks, please take a moment to think differently about me and the other radicals in your life who you many be writing off for your own comfort & benefit. we aren’t disrupting status quos and making your life uncomfortable for no good reason. you are engaged in practices that are harmful. we want you to be mindful of it, fight your cognitive dissonance, and do the work to change, stop harming, and be accountable for the harm you have already done. we don’t want you to be part of the problem anymore.

we want you to free your mind.