Stand up for what’s right


Image via Sodahead


I’m going to start this off with a cliche phrase you’ve probably heard a million times: there are two kinds of people in this world. Now, that is often followed by something like “people who like beer and people who don’t” or “people who like Macs and people who like PCs” or some other such banal dichotomy. So, why mess with a good thing? I’ve got one of my own to add to the pile, though I hope it’s a bit less banal.

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who stand up for truth and justice no matter what it costs them and those who don’t. For the sake of convenience, let’s call these people Truth Addicts.

There are, I have learned, quite a few Truth Addicts running around. But as you might expect, we seem to be in a minority. Not standing up and saying something is just so much easier, so much more comfortable, so much safer. Why raise a fuss? Why cause a ruckus? Why rock the boat?

Indeed, there is a boatload of censure waiting for you if you’re a Truth Addict. You’ll be labeled an attention whore, an agitator, a bitter cynic, an angry, negative person and other things that are a lot worse than that. Why put up with all that criticism? Never mind that none of this is true about Truth Addicts. That doesn’t matter. If you are a Truth Addict, your intentions will be questioned at every turn.

Why is this? Is it because many people simply can’t understand the drive to defend what’s right and decry what’s wrong no matter the cost? I think that this is what it boils down to. Just as it’s sometimes impossible to explain why you like a certain food or a type of music, this too is ineffable. And just as it’s pretty easy to recognize a fellow fan of sushi or metal music, it’s pretty easy to find fellow Truth Addicts in your midst.

They will be the ones who will JUST NOT LET SOMETHING GO while you’re wondering what the fuss was to begin with.

They will be the ones who stay up nights to write lengthy screeds to their newspaper’s Letters to the Editor or post on their blogs or send impassioned e-mails to their friends.

They will be the ones who not only forward you a donation appeal for a charity or political organization, but write an intro first explaining why you MUST DO SOMETHING.

They will be the ones who send you a news article prefaced by something like “THIS is exactly what I’ve been saying!!!”

They will be the ones who take an unpopular position in their professional, gender, ethnic or racial group that runs counter to what others in that group usually believe.

They will often be the ones who write letters to their elected officials. Real letters. Not those canned ones you just sign your name to.

They might be the ones to start new philanthropic organizations to address a need they feel is overlooked.

In short, these are pretty amazing people. You might find it tiresome or difficult to be around them, but let me assure you that they are the ones you want in your corner when something goes awry. You might find their constant agitating annoying, but they are the ones who will tell you before anyone else that something is amiss in your local government, your company, etc. You might find them insufferable at parties, but throughout history these are the people who have stood up to dictators, genocide and more.

So the next time you find yourself annoyed by one of us Truth Addicts, take a moment to think about this and try to be kind.


  1. Anonymous February 27, 2011

    Aren’t journalists supposed to just report the news? Get over yourself.

  2. Anna Tarkov February 27, 2011

    No Jose, journalists aren’t just supposed to report the news. Perhaps you should read this: Many of the comments below that post are quite good too.

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