The ripples we create

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert Kennedy

Since I was a young boy I have been a fan of Robert Kennedy.  At the time of his death I was too young to truly appreciate his words and the impact that he had on so many young people and his country.  In many ways the impact of his deeds and words is better understood through the lens of time.  Do we romanticize his memory?  Perhaps, but his words have stood the test of time.  They are as true today as they were in the 1960’s.

We live in a time where there seems to be a certain amount of cynicism that surrounds our heroes of the day.  The seemingly inevitable fall from grace is magnified by 24-hour media and the multitude of means by which we can critique and spread opinion, often times without a thought about the truth of what is said.  We rush to judgement without knowing all of the facts.  Once something is said loudly and often enough, it becomes the accepted truth.

Social opinion sadly falls prey to the spin of the rush to judgement. Our need to categorize and then decide who to pin blame upon before moving on to the next issue defies my understanding.  The idea of thoughtfulness as a virtue is almost forgotten.  Instead it has been replaced by extremism, by right and wrong, by left and right.  We seem to have forgotten to employ our conscience and values when forming opinions.

Poverty, homelessness, and social supports are a much discussed topic these days.  With a new provincial government in place there is great speculation on how this will impact the social fabric of Ontario in general and Toronto in particular. Rather than waiting for the government to decide on issues, it is the perfect opportunity for each person to do our own part to make positive social change.  It is time for each of us to create our own ripple.  Make it your goal to be the beginning of the current that will sweep down the walls.

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