Saturday, October 9, 2010

Either Stand Up or Shut Up

In today's world it is common for the majority of the population to do nothing. Ever. Everyone has opinions (it's just one of those things that happens) and yet instead of creating powerful, opinionated, passionate people, the world is creating nothing but yet another generation of doormats. Every now and then someone comes out of no where and says what they believe, and backs that belief with a strong, valid argument. But as soon as the last word has left their mouth, they are pushed back, shunned, and ignored by the conformist blob that is today's society.

The first time I ever felt the need to learn to stand up for something was when I was in elementary school. Avril Lavigne had just arrived on the scene and was demanding that girls break out of the mold that society had placed in front of them. Through her songs she told stories of how she'd never been the type of girl to play dress up or wear make up, but instead hung out with boys and learned how to fight for herself and stand out. She also did something that few people have ever done; she encouraged other girls to do the same. She stood for something.

If I counted all of the bands on my iPod, I'm pretty sure that even I would be amazed at the number. And yet, out of all of them, there are so few songs that demand the listener stand for something. Which is where the lyrics of the day come in.

Cartel, one of my personal favorite bands, starts off their new CD, Cycles, with the song "Lets Go." This song struck a chord with me almost immediately because of the plea in the bridge;

"So if you've got a torch to carry,
Hold it high,
Come take the world with me,
Let it burn, let it burn,
Let it light up the sky!

Stand up,
Get up lets go,
Stand up,
We gotta make them know,
Stand up,
You gotta make them see,
Get up, people, stand up with me!"

It doesn't take much to figure out why I fell in love with the lyrics. I've always been kind of disgusted with how pathetic the generation of today can appear from time to time. It saddens me to know that more doormats are being created everyday for corporate monkeys and political pawns to wipe there feet off on. It's awful and depressing.

I am proud to know that no matter where life takes me, I will always stand up for what I believe. I will never back down from a fight, especially when I know for a fact that I have the knowledge to win. If someone knocks me down, I can and will stand back up, dust off my jeans, and hold my ground.

Earlier this week, one of the best friends I have ever, and will ever have posted a poem on Facebook and tagged me in it, knowing full well that I would appreciate it's power. This poem is written in completely fluent "teen speak" so that anyone under the age of thirty-five can understand it without having to look up words in a dictionary, or ask what the author is talking about. And so, accordingly, I will leave you with Taylor Mali's, Totally Like Whatever, You Know? 

In case you hadn't noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you're talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you're saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)'s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?
Declarative sentences - so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not -
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don't think I'm uncool just because I've noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It's like what I've heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I'm just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?
What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like . . .
And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we've become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .you know, a long, long time ago!
I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.

And there you have it: either learn how to stand up for your beliefs and do something about the terrible things you see happening in your life, and/or other's lives, or learn to shut up, because if you don't stand for anything, and you don't speak with authority, you don't deserve the opinions you harbor.

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