What Matters

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. I have it scrawled on a yellow Post-It note and taped to the wall of my cube here at work. The posting of this quote is two days late, but I didn't want to pass by the opportunity to reflect on what it means to me.

I consider myself a social activist. Not in the sense that I'm front and center in picket lines (although I do have a fair share of experience participating in animal rights protests when I was younger), but that I care deeply and passionately about the issues that affect the environment, animals, and racial, ethnic, and other minorities. And I cannot remain silent when I see or hear about others seeking to turn back the clock on the advancements we as a country have made in these areas.

For example, last week's Alito hearings angered me. The man is a master side-stepper, and I believe, a liar to boot. He was intellectually dishonest in answering the senators' questions regarding his abortion views. I firmly believe this man is 100% for outlawing abortion in this country. If he gets confirmed (and I think he will), I am truly afraid about what it will mean for Roe vs. Wade.

This week's story in my local newspaper enraged me. Why aren't these individuals being charged with felony animal cruelty, a charge that results in a five-year prison term? FBI studies have shown that many of those who abuse animals end up hurting people as well. This article reports the results of a survey which found that 70.3% of women in domestic abuse shelters reported threats to or actual harm of pets, with 54% of them reporting actual harm. Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and David Berkowitz all abused and killed animals.

And last year's spate of states outlawing gay marriage disgusted me as well. When will this country realize that two people, regardless of gender, commiting themselves to each other for life is not eroding the moral fabric of this country? Drunk heterosexual celebrities marrying eachother after a night of partying in Vegas (a la Ms. Spears) is fine, but a gay couple in a ten-year relationship cannot make their bond legal? When will the ignorant leaders of this country realize that there are more important issues facing us daily than boys (or girls) kissing?

In my opinion, MLK's words are more than a call to action. For me, they represent a way of life. It's easy to not take the time to dissect how you feel about the stories you see and read about in the news every day. Becoming emotionally involved with the injustices in the world around us takes its toll. But for me, when these topics come up in discussions, I speak my mind. And at least where my very conservative family is concerned, I am the lone voice of dissent (read: reason). But to do otherwise is to silently acquiesce. To remain quiet is to condone the injustice. I will not let this happen.

9 Responses to “What Matters”

  1. # Blogger Binulatti

    Ugh. I cannot fathom how that imbecile woman can sleep at night. It makes me sick to think of her cat's dying moments realizing her mother - for 10 years! - is killing her. Pleading stupidity is no excuse. What kind of person could physically, mentally, and emotionally do that?! It's mind boggling to think that instead of making her cat's last days as easy as possible - special food, warm blankets, etc she opts to kill her pet. I'm so glad someone flipped her in to Lollypop.
    You're spot-on. Getting emotionally involved with injustice around you is never 'easy' but it's the only way things will ever change.
    Great post, Shish.  

  2. # Anonymous Clare Eats

    That is a fantasticaly written post, I don't know the details because I am in Australia but I get the basics and I agree!!!  

  3. # Blogger cara

    great post! When I was in training for the GAL program, they made a huge deal of telling us to watch how people treated their pets. An investigator for DCF told us that when she had to respond to a call at a home with pets, 99% of the pets were malnourished and afraid.

    It amazes me how people can look at the divorce rate in this country and then have the balls to say that allowing homosexuals to marry would "destroy the sanctity of marriage". Folks us hetros have done that all by ourselves!! You know the same congressmen who are against it are the ones renting cheap motels having a bunch of dirty sex with prostitutes!!  

  4. # Blogger Caryl


  5. # Blogger Kristi

    Karrie-No kidding. IMO, five years is way too short a term for that complete moron.

    Clare-You're lucky you live in Australia. I've contemplated a move to Canada many a time in the past six years.

    Cara-You can learn a lot (and I mean a LOT) about a person by the way they treat their pets. I'm really glad this is part of the GAL program. It's so important.

    And I couldn't agree more with what heteros have done to destroy marriage. And you're right-we only need to look at our political leaders for an excellent example of exactly this.

    Caryl-glad you agree!  

  6. # Anonymous ramona

    Excellent post. It seems to be that more people need think reasonably before getting on the bandwagon re:anti-abortion laws, homosexuals marrying. Why not move up in the evolution chain vs. remaining stagnant, or taking backward leaps? Stupid is, as stupid does. (Gump)  

  7. # Blogger Kristi

    Ramona-Thanks. The argument from the right of "this is the way it's always been done" simply doesn't fly. You've hit the nail right on the head. Evolve, people!  

  8. # Blogger 3wishes

    Hello! I found your blog from Farmgirl! Loved your post here, although I skipped the story I just dont want to hear about animal cruelty tonight. Next time I will leave a link to a blog that details an animal lab. I reread it this week and realized it should be shared with like minded folks....glad to have found you all. Have a great night.  

  9. # Blogger Kristi

    3Wishes-Thanks for stopping by. FarmGirl's blog is awesome, isn't it? Definitely send me the link to that blog you mentioned.  

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