“Each of you, for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility, must speak. It is a solemn and weighty responsibility and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government or politician. Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man, to decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor. It is traitorous both against yourself and your country.
Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.
It doesn’t matter what the press says. It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. It doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. Republics are founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe in. no matter the odds or consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move — your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world:
‘No, you move.’”
This quote from Mark Twain was popularized by Captain America during the Civil War comics event back in 2006, but is still applicable today. The idea of standing up for yourself, thinking unique thoughts, going against the flow of the crowd — it’s foreign to us, especially teenagers. We are told something and expected to believe it, whether that be through advertisements, social media, or anything else. Doubt and fear are marginalized, anxiety and depression are laughed at. Why?
We should have our own thoughts, our own values. Our path should be chosen by us, not for us. Why do we let others do it for us?
Pivoting toward faith, when reading that quote, I realize that God wants us to question him. He wants us to interrogate ourselves, to decide what our convictions are, then act on them. Because why would he be afraid of questions when he is the answer? Questioning our faith, doubting it, is perfectly acceptable. It means we value our faith enough to think about it.
We think about what we value. If we don’t care about something, why would we think about it? The problem is that we have so much information forced into our minds daily, we can’t find what we truly care about.
According to Twain, we tell the world: “no, you move.” And that is powerful, in and of itself.
The world is wrong. It’s sinful. Satan is the god of this world and he will do anything in his power to stop us, including trying to affect our faith and our mind.
We must stand by our faith, stand by our convictions, and stand by our God. He is firm, unshakable. He will not move from his stance and neither should we. The world will move, change, and shift but God will not.
Stay salty, mis amigos.