From uncomfortable to undaunted? Leaping from ally to advocate

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Please don’t be mistaken.

This isn’t a trumpet-blaring post about my magnificent journey as an advocate.

I don’t have one. At least not on the scale of say a social media influencer with thousands of followers. Nor am I certain I ever will.

The only reason I’m writing this is to remind myself there is a world beyond the four walls of my study room that needs healing. And if I see something awry in society, I mustn’t keep quiet about it anymore. Even if there are voices out there ever ready to silence me if I speak out about the ‘wounds’ I see, and the medicine needed.

Cos the wounds I see are social ills threatening to tear us apart. Yet many would likely fight me tooth and nail were I to publicly denounce what I see, making me the one ‘wounded’ instead!

Oh well…

The silent majority

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For the longest time, I’ve been part of the infamous silent majority.

This basically means I’ve been safely hiding among the roughly 90% of humanity. The quintessential nameless crowds in our midst. The faceless folks that throng this planet. Happily going about their lives unnoticed; and we like it that way thank you very much.

But there’s something about growing older and having more yesterdays now than tomorrows. Somehow I am finding myself moving into the space of an advocate. For things I believe need to stay or change in the world.

Not because I’m a busybody or worse a know-it-all. Nor am I some stereotype stay-home-dad with too much time on my hands.

But yeah it does have something to do with parenting and bequeathing a legacy for my children. One that tells them in no uncertain terms I’m trying to pass them a better world than the one I have.

Or die trying.

Yet if I’m honest with myself, do I really think my lone voice in the desert will make a mite of difference?

Welcome to my uncertain foray into the world of allies, advocates, and activists!

Allies. Advocates. Activists. What’s the difference?

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According to and a related LinkedIn post by LinkedIn member Marilia Honorio Ragazzo:

An Ally is “one associated with another as a helper. A person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity or struggle.” It’s often used specifically for a person who is not a member of a marginalized or mistreated group, but who expresses or gives support to that group.

An Advocate is “one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group.” Advocates are relatively more impactful when they acknowledge and utilize their privilege to engage in controversial situations on behalf of marginalized people and groups who can’t afford to do so in order to make social and political change. 

As for an Activist, s/he is “a person who uses or supports strong actions (such as public protests) in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.” It is described as taking direct action to achieve a political or social goal. ‘Activism’ can be a negative concept based on how activism is perceived and how activists are depicted in the media.

It’s clear from the above that these three roles fall on a spectrum from mild (ally) to fervent (advocate) to adversarial (activist).

And while I’m still unsure if I have the guts to be an adversarial activist, am I prepared now to at least move from being a mild ally to a fervent advocate?

Where do I stand? Ally or advocate?

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For the longest time, I’ve been at best an ally when it comes to social causes or standing up for what’s right (or, more correctly, what I believe is right).

If say a friend invites me to like a comment on his/her social media, I would comply willingly, so long as it’s not too controversial and there are already many others who like it. If table conversations drift into anything even remotely adversarial between say two friends with opposing views, I’ll probably try to placate both sides by playing the ally role.

Friendship before friction right?

Even if I were to raise a protest or take up a position on something I feel strongly about, maybe only my family or the few friends I have would ever hear about it. Or the two people who actually read my now-infrequent social media posts!

And in modern times where it’s kosher to add my name to an email petition when hundreds of others have done so, I’ll say “Sure thing. Count me in!”

Safety in numbers no?

But since writing recently an open “truth” letter to my sons, I realise that being merely an ally now isn’t good enough anymore.

Not when there’s so much more at stake today!

Like for instance…

the 7 “global epidemics” to advocate against

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In one important podcast episode published in March last year on the Dr Jeff Show, Josh McDowell, a global evangelist I’ve followed and respected for decades claimed what he believes to be the seven global epidemics today that cut across all cultures.

Two are intellectual. Four, emotional. The last one, moral.

They are Critical Race Theory, Social Justice, Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety, Grief and Pornography.

Should I remain uncomfortable to leap from ally to advocate on the spectrum when such heavy-duty matters are gripping our world? My children’s world? Or should I be undaunted and take a leap of faith come-what-may?

I mean, I’m already speaking out in my blog on issues about autism, parenting, writing and life aren’t I? So what’s the harm if I were to take the next step and speak boldly about these seven deadly sins, not to mention other contentious issues like oh I don’t know Abortion, LGBT, Hunger, Poverty and more?!

Especially when my days are numbered but those of my children and their generation are just beginning.

What kind of world am I bequeathing to them if I stay a mere ally, or worse a distant and silent bystander?

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