Casting My Lot

2017 by Ed Chasteen

The rich and powerful do not need my help. To them I have nothing to offer. When they take over my nation’s capital and by their actions harm the weak and vulnerable, I am forced either to remain silent, and thereby appear to lend consent, or speak in opposition and cast my lot with those made targets by hasty and ill-tempered actions.

Not a sledgehammer but a scalpel we need now to address the problems we face. Care and precision can navigate us safely through these troubled waters that, poorly addressed, swamp us. My country will likely little note nor long remember my small voice coming from this place known in private to some of its most ardent and effective members as “this little piss-ant college in this little podunk town.” But having by choice remained long in this place, I cast my lot now with: The Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, The Occupy Movement; my Muslim neighbors, refugees, our fast-food workers; concern with climate change, and other efforts dismissed as “fringe” by those who seek to discount them.

My stance may do little to influence what happens nationally and little to improve the private lives of those dear to me. The soul burden I carry, though, will be lighter, as the last stanza of Robert Service’s Carry On! makes clear.

Carry on! Carry on!

Fight the good fight and true;

Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;

There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.

Carry on! Carry on!

Let the world be better for you;

And at last when you die,let this be your cry;

Carry on, my soul! Carry on!

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