Photo by Samuel Branch

On Speaking Up – For Real

I published a very short article in March of 2019. It was one of the first posts on this current iteration of ChadHassler.com:

On Speaking Up

If I’m remembering it correctly, I had just sent an email to the leadership team at my company that felt like a bit of a gamble. The gamble paid off and set a new tone and direction for my career, even if I was the only one that knew it.

Looking back from the perch that is July 4th 2020 in the United States, it’s funny how I thought it was courageous to send that note.

I won’t document all the levels of crazy I’ve experienced through my screens over the last four months, but if you’ve been watching, you know what I’m talking about: pandemics, protests, riots, looting and… politics. Oh, the politics!

I’ve avoided the P word on the few public platforms I participate in. That’s the smart thing to do, right? Here’s a sneak-peak into my self-talk around politics/current events and whether or not I should take my own advice and “Speak Up”:

“Don’t ruffle any feathers.” 
“Keep your head down.”
“Don’t be stupid.”

Besides, what difference would it make? One voice of thousands, blowing hot air in all directions – in the middle of a respiratory illness pandemic? No, Chad. Sit down. Shut up. You’ve got a good thing going. Beautiful wife. Two healthy kids. Secure income. A future. Why risk alienating potential allies, friends, colleagues?

Also, why you? You’re not exactly a perfect human being. Do you really want to draw attention to yourself? Do you want to feel the sting public scrutiny?

Does this voice sound familiar to you?

It’s the voice of fear. Pressfield would call it ‘resistance‘. It’s insidious. Left unchecked, it will cause you to question your own existence and whether or not it’s worth anything. 

Do you know what speaks in this voice so consistently, that you can’t remember a time when it sounded any different?

The media. Corporate and social. Mainstream and fringe.

The education system. 

Us.

Cancel culture is our culture now. We’ve adopted it. And the consequences, intended or otherwise, are dire.

Human beings are evolutionarily wired to fit in – to belong. Left to our own devices, we’ll conform to norms of our tribe so that we may survive. It takes an incredible amount of effort and courage to do otherwise. This is why preserving our American culture is so important.

American culture?

The United States of America is quite literally a nation born of rebellion. The British told us to sit down, shut up, and pay our taxes. Get in line. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t ruffle any feathers. If there are traitors among you, let them be hanged!

We said “No”. We stood up. We fought for our independence. We fought for our right to question authority. 

We. Spoke. Up.

And we got the United States of America. It’s not perfect. Nothing human ever is. But to deny our past is to deny our future. We can learn from it, but we can never forget it.

I have no idea what the future holds for me and my family, my friends and colleagues, or my country. But to sit back and let fear prevent me from speaking up, for real, tarnishes the legacy of those who gave a whole lot more than words to the cause of liberty and justice for all. 

Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

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