I want to talk to you for a moment about the difference between support and action.
It has both nothing and everything to do with politics, but it’s not political.
Two years ago I lost a friend and one of the people I loved most on this planet, Dante Bucci. It was a crushing loss and still is. I can’t even type his name without crying, so I am crying right now as I write this.
I saw so many friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time at the events held to remember Dante’s life. I gave all of those friends massive hugs, because that’s what Dante did every time he saw me. I spoke to them. We shared stories with one another.
One conversation, in particular, sticks out. It was with a brilliant musician and a phenomenally kind human being. As we talked, I excitedly rattled of all of the aspects of her life I was proud and excited to be supporting. Her shows, her new songs, her tours. She looked genuinely shocked.
“Wow, Peter,” she said with a huge smile, “I had no idea you cared so much!”
“Well, I LIKE all of your posts and I listen to your songs!” I replied. We kept talking and we’ve kept on talking since then, but I haven’t liked any more of her posts.
I haven’t liked, or hearted, or little round angry-faced a single message on Facebook since that day.
I think of all the times I silently supported Dante instead of telling him I loved him, that he was brilliant, and that he made me want to be a better musician. I think of that musician friend and how she had no idea how much I cared about her success.
Now, every time I am tempted to add my silent support to something I instead say those words of support. When I love one of my friends’ songs I tell them about it in the most effusive language I can summon.
Like buttons, smiley faces, emojis, and animated GIFs are fun because pictures can be worth a 1,000 words. They are a wonderful shorthand for support, agreement, and affection. People treat them as digital currency.
Don’t let having them at your disposal cause you to lose sight of the power of words – not just words spoken to those you care about, but even to strangers who have said or done something you value.
There are people today across America who are expressing very personal feelings – fears and aspirations – and you are going to be tempted to use your hands to click a button to express your support for them. Please don’t. Please use your voice to say something instead. I promise you, it’s going to matter so much to them.
Furthermore, don’t let your ability to comment in support from the comfort of your home and your own bubble of safety cause you to lose sight of the power of action. Going to dinner with a friend is action. Going to a show is an action. Hugging someone you love is an action. Intervening if you see someone else being harassed or bullied is an action.
So is voting.
Please take action when you can, my readers, when you feel able and safe to do so When you can’t please make your voice heard.