Colley: Fighting for What’s Right

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Colley: Fighting for What’s Right

Caleb Colley, Lead Copy Editor

It’s not unusual to find something wrong with society. Everyone has issues with politics, religion and philosophy. Often, these issues materialize as conflict between the institution or abolition of policies and law.

I remember well how my primary school teachers taught us about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They hammered into us quite frequently his moral mission and his civil disobedience campaigns that helped him achieve his ultimate goal of civil rights. This, of course, is not a bad thing; in fact, the exact opposite is true. Dr. King and other figures who rebelled against the status quo have shaped the very foundation of how I see the world.

The lesson taught to me was that the law and status quo in society aren’t necessarily moral. The actions of revolutionary leaders that brought change demonstrate this. Examples of this include the American Civil Rights Movement, the opposition to Apartheid in South Africa and general other struggles for equality and against injustice across the world. These are examples of not just law not necessarily being moral but also the necessity of direct action against the immoral status quo to change society.

History has shown that no fundamental change to society comes without some sort of conflict. The revolutionaries of Russia’s October Revolution didn’t get their way and seek to eliminate injustice by politely asking the Tsar to stand down. They overthrew him, tearing down the system of injustice by force, enforcing what is right despite what might be law. However, there doesn’t have to be any particular law that leads to immorality. Aggression toward Civil Rights demonstrators in the American South wasn’t always based on demonstrators’ violation of local Jim Crow laws; often, they were attacked simply because they violated white southerners’ ideal of society. Simply violating tradition and the status quo can create conflict.

Nowadays, it seems that everyone has forgotten the revolutionary actions behind revolutionary changes to society. Pundits can usually be seen insisting that you must always abide by the law. They say that you can achieve anything through the ballot and that you can only debate civilly with the opposition to what is right. The fact of the matter is that one cannot just play by society’s current roles and rules to change it substantially. One must ascend to a new level of discourse, direct action for what is right. If you know of discrimination, step up; if you know of a rejection of someone’s basic human dignity, step up and if you see a delegitimization of the very fabric of someone’s identity, step up. Despite the severest of consequences and punishment from various authorities, several of our forebears of all nations have taken a stand for what is right. Why shouldn’t we?

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