Independence and Integrity
It’s important to stand up for your principles and your beliefs. It’s also important to know when to change your mind, for yourself. Whenever I’d make the more logical argument in school, often times I’d stand alone. Sometimes I’d realize I was wrong, but sometimes people just didn’t understand why I was right. I remember three particular instances.
I was in speech and debate and we were talking about the Electoral College. I argued in favor of it, referencing geo-political reasons. If it was straight democracy, middle america votes would have little effect due to the spread of the population across it. Because their concerns can be much different than the more popular coasts, fair representation is required. That’s over-simplifying it, but you get the idea. I was the only one in my corner. I convinced two other people out of a class of 25. But, at first, I stood alone.
I was a pretend lawyer in civics trying to cover a case that, at it’s core, was about kidnapping. There was an emotional tie to it that would muddy the waters as to who was guilty and who was innocent. I was on the side that was prosecuting. I put together a powerful speech about why the law says this, and that all the court was to be concerned with was the law. All the jurors voted against me. It was then I questioned whether it was right to always follow the law, even when it was unjust. I know I stood alone that day.
I was working as a technology para-professional at the elementary school I attended. The administration had been lobbying for an increase in the size of the lunch room. I was still on lunch duty at that time, and honestly, I could get all the children in that lunch room with half of it still free most of the time. So, in my opinion, we didn’t need to waste money taking out a load bearing wall for a larger lunch room. One day the newspaper came to take a picture about the issue. The secretary told me to line up all the kids along the wall, and get all the kids onto one side of the lunch room. This was so the photographer could take a photo from hallway across the room, causing it to look much more crowded than it really was. I thought it was really wrong to use children this way, to lie politically, when they are innocent. To this day I regret not standing up and standing alone, but rather helping this atrocity. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t have done it again.
Don’t be afraid to stand alone when you know you’re right. If you don’t do it, who will?