Fear that binds us
Last night I watched North Country. It is the story of a Josey Aimes who goes to work in a mine with a predominately male workforce. The small number of women in the mine were continually sexually harassed and had learned to tolerate it. If they complained too much it just got worse. They just came to accept their treatment.
When Josey started making noise about the criminal mistreatment things became much worse. So much so the other female workers turned on her. Eventually it came to court. The other women were so intimidated by men and the thought of losing their high paying jobs that they refused to support Josey.
It always frustrates me when people are unwilling to risk their security for a principle they believe in. It would always drive me nuts when people would talk about something needing to change but when it came time to risk anything they shrunk back and changed their tune. More than I once I’ve stood by my principles alone because people were to chicken to agree with me.
I think there is something to picking your battles and fighting effectively though. No sense picking fights you can’t win or complaining so often you devalue your own words. There are people who fight courageously in ways that are utterly futile. Change is created by understanding the best path towards change or attacking things at the right level. Sometimes that involves timing things correctly and being patient. Josey tried escalating the conflict at the mine and didn’t get satisfaction until she took legal action. There is no sense complaining to the union if they aren’t going to do anything.
Fear is probably the greatest enemy of change. Fear keeps us locked in boxes hoping that positive change can happen incrementally and painlessly. We can be afraid of losing our job, reputation, failure, facing reality etc… Fear is a great sin that should be repented of like any other.