Today in the Wall Street Journal, there was an editorial about a brave Russian gentleman, Alexei Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption blogger, who is defending himself in a show trial in Kirov, Russia. He is being tried on trumped up charges of embezzlement. But he is an leading opponent of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who has adopted draconian new laws to put down protest movements and stifle dissent. Quoting from the article and Mr. Navalny's comments, "Not one of us has the right to shirk from doing what's necessary to make our world better. Each time someone thinks, 'Why don't I just step aside and simply everything will happen without me and I'll wait?'" There is more to this quote which you can look up in the Wall Street Journal. He does not mince words.
Reading the article made me consider bravery in all its forms. I have never been tested in my lifetime in "Macro Bravery," that is public stands that are dangerous or unpopular. We all have experienced micro bravery, that personal fortitude in our lives when we face illness, our own or our families, making decisions in our relationships, taking physical chances, and all those micro stands that are known only to our family and friends and some outsiders. But to go against a regime which means prison, banishment, or death takes a fortitude that not everyone has.
We have been reading in the paper of Nelson Mandela's imminent death which gives some who really do not know much about his bravery and life, a chance to learn more. Mr. Mandela went to prison for 27 years for going against the South African political regime at the time, sometimes using violence. He spoke against Apartheid and other injustices and was given a long prison term. But when the politics of South Africa changed, he was released and instead of being bitter and seeking asylum elsewhere, he stayed and became president and helped South Africa change to a better form of government.
There are many examples throughout history of brave men and women who took a stand against evil and oppression at the risk of their own lives, in many case their families lives as well.
Here in the United States we have the freedom to dissent, not that there might not be a few ramifications depending on what is said or posted, IRS audits, not-withstanding.
Just a few thoughts, a week after July 4th.