When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you will know that I love cleverly worded song lyrics. The above title comes from an unexpected source (if you don’t follow the band) – a song called “Free will” by the rock band “Rush.” I find this lyric, penned by drummer Neil Peart, compelling as it speaks to people who choose to do nothing in the face of obvious problems. Martin Luther King saved some of his criticism for the silent people who did not condemn Jim Crow actions.

People choose not to vote because they do not like the choices. But, “none of the above” is not an option and one candidate tends to be worse or represents worse. If you did not vote because you did not think Brexit or Trump would win, you water down your right to protest. And, I would add there are seven white supremacists running for office, empowered by a US President who won’t condemn racist actions and has made racist statements. So, your vote does matter.

If you witness a daily assault on civil rights, women’s rights, truth, media, science, allies and environment and don’t speak up, then you condone the actions as acceptable.

– It is not OK for leaders to lie multiple times a day.

– It is not OK to have governmental websites delete data that run afoul of unsubstantiated opinions by leaders.

– It is not OK to demean people because they dare criticize a leader’s point of view.

– It is not OK to demonize groups of people or exaggerate causes of problems, as it is hard enough to solve real problems with real data.

– It is not OK to ignore real problems or have faux efforts to address them. Gun deaths, poverty, health care access and costs, infrastructure deterioration, increasing debt, environmental degradation, climate change, etc. are real problems.

Please do not remain silent. Speak up. Call or email your representatives. Attend marches and protests. Share diplomatically your opinion, but listen to theirs. Find a way to get your opinion heard and heeded. Calling someone a name is not the way to be heard.

The other day as I was looking for a new battery for my cordless mower, a store clerk and I chatted about the need to move toward renewable energy. While he supported the eventual move, he said renewable energy is “seven times” the cost of fossil fuel energy. I responded and said that is a ten-year old argument. The costs are now more on par. In fact, there is a city in Texas who chose to be 100% renewable energy powered as its CPA mayor said financially it is a better deal. Did he hear me? I don’t know, but he would not have  if I had not listened to his argument and responded.

Do not follow the words of the song lyric. Choose to decide.

18 thoughts on “When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice

  1. It is a recurring tragedy: so many of those who realize that all options stink fail to realize that some options stink worse than others.  (Much worse, in the case of Clinton vs Trump in 2016.)  Here is a haiku version of this post’s apt title:

            Choosing not to choose
            has consequences also.
            It is still a choice.

    • Clinton was far from perfect, but the piñata that has been carefully and painfully built of her over time is what Bernie and Trump ran against. Trump easily got folks to focus on the piñata and beat on it.

      • Like Bernie himself, I was one of the disappointed Berniecrats who sucked it up and supported Clinton after her tainted winning of the nomination.  Too many purists preferred sulking about the “evil of two lessers” over functioning in the real world.  Dunno if more realism among progressives could have outweighed the effects of fake news and Clinton’s blunders.

      • I fully understand the concerns over Clinton. She could be more forthcoming, but in her defense, she is a lightning rod for criticism, fair and unfair. Unfortunately, those looking back can’t ascertain the difference. Here is a good example – she gets vilified by the right for staying married to her philandering husband, but is that not what the bible says to do? That was her choice. Now where she should get criticized is vilifying her husband’s accusers.

        Conservative columnist David Brooks noted she gets higher marks for doing her jobs than running for her job. He said she was an effective Senator and prolific Secretary of Stafe on terms of representing the US.

        With all that said, I chose Obama over her in 2008.

  2. Another wise and thought provoking post. Silence can not be a choice if we want to institute change. I would usually quote MLK on silence, but also think that Nelson Mandela said it well : “Fools multiply when wise men are silent.” Thank-you!

    • Ellen, Mandela was able to galvanize a nation, when he easily could have done the opposite. That leadership lesson is totally lost on The Donald. Keith

  3. Pingback: When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice – Matthews' Blog

  4. Note to Readers: Not every brave stance need be a huge soapbox. Small lessons can help without infringing on friendships. Find some common ground. Here are few small lessons:

    – It is unfortunate that the President picks fights with our allies. He could still accomplish his goals without beating up our friends.

    – It is unfortunate the President feels the need to be as untruthful as he is. He is his own worst enemy when he is not truthful.

    – It is unfortunate that we are not addressing the real causes of our problems. Healthcare premium increases are an issue. Poverty is an issue.

    Trust me, I know how hard it is to avoid being too indicting, especially with this President. Yet, if our goal is to shine a spotlight – do so on the actions, policies and behavior. In that way, our voice may be heard.

    I have written before how a colleague would use “help me understand” when problem a comment or stance was voiced that he did not agree with.

  5. Note to Readers: The band Rush is the embodiment of a cadre who chose to ignore their critics and keep playing. They were told their lead singer’s voice sounded like a strangled cat and they would never be successful with him. They were told that a band with only three members could not be musical enough to command the stage. They were told their lyrics were too obtuse and their songs were too long.

    They chose to keep playing. And, people kept showing up, building a cult like following. I have seen them live and they are more than ample to command a stage with each member being superb. I told my sons who joined me, it is amazing only three people can make that much sound.

    Like Rush, make a conscious choice.

  6. I remember when that song came out – the lyric made a huge impact on me. I have seen Rush live; if you haven’t seen their documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage, I highly recommend it! Anyway, I do struggle to remind myself that smaller personal actions matter. Your story about the renewable energy remark is a perfect example.

    • Many thanks. I have seen the documentary. It is excellent. I have a greatest hits CD that is terrific for road trips. I appreciate your thoughts on the renewable energy example. If I had ridiculed that man, it would have been a disservice. As you witness, the US President attacks the person not the argument. It amazes me that more folks do not recognize that. Can we trade Presidents? Keith

  7. Dear Keith,

    There is this saying that I like to use when peoples prefer to play ostrich. All that is required for evil to flourish, is for good people to do nothing.

    Hugs, Gronda

  8. Note to Readers: The main Rush songwriter and voted fourth best drummer in the world, Neil Peart, passed away last night. The above lyric is a good example of Peart’s clever wordsmithing.

    When my two sons and I saw Rush, Peart had two sets of drums surrounding him. In the middle of the show, the drums rotated, so he could play a different sounding set.

    He was representative of the band, as people were amazed by how much sound came out of just three people.

  9. Note to Readers: It is nice to see this post getting visited more recently. Thanks. What troubles me is the current US president is doing the same thing he did in 2016. He is trying to cause Bernie Sanders voters to not vote, vote for him or vote for a third party candidate, if Bernie does not win the nomination. It was a successful strategy in 2016, as many could not bring themselves to vote for Clinton and stayed home or voted for Jill Stein. Clinton was imperfect, but her imperfections were highlighted more than others and she ran a poor campaign. Nonetheless, too many not voting is a reason we ended up with the president we have.

    I will vote for Bernie if he wins. I will vote for Joe Biden if he wins. Or, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer or Michael Bloomberg, et all. Each has a moral and ethical compass which the current president lacks.The only way to unite Americans is have a president who does not divide people on seemingly every issue. We need a galvanizer, someone who is among our better angels, not our worse demons. Please vote. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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