What We Lose
Are there times where we can’t compromise our beliefs because to do so would be to forfeit the core of our beings? What do we value and how do we place value in this country and within each other?
What are we willing to give up of ourselves, our morals, or our beliefs, in order to attain some form of temporary peace? Tension and division have been, and always will be, a part of the human experience; compromise is the way that we’ve been taught to coexist with those we disagree with. But by definition, compromise necessitates that everyone must accept standards that are less than what they want for the sake of the greater good. So is there such a thing as a compromise that is fair to all?
Compromise is both a moral and a practical dilemma. In the U.S., one year after the #MeToo movement began, and less than a month after the Kavanaugh hearings that confirmed the controversial Supreme Court justice, questions of “fair” may feel relative. It depends on who you’re asking, and why. Globally, traditional gender roles continue to change and questions of privilege are being brought to the forefront of discussion, but the lives of those who are less white, less male-identified, and less powerful in every sense of the word are still being compromised to maintain the status quo. Families are being torn apart in the name of national security. Notions of privacy are being pitted against calls for heightened protection. But at the same time, change is daunting, and those who resist it have hopes of finding order amid a shifting social and political landscape. The reality is that everyone’s just trying to get by — the difference is in what each individual, each collective, and each nation is willing to give up in order to survive.
As individuals, we are all being asked to sacrifice daily, whether it be tempering our opinions, code-switching, or selectively sharing parts of ourselves with others for fear of retribution. What are the ways that we have to accede to the demands of society, and how are we finding ways to hold onto who we are? Are there times where we can’t compromise our beliefs because to do so would be to forfeit the core of our beings? What do we value and how do we place value in this country and within each other? And when do we need to apologize for what we unknowingly (or knowingly) force others to give up?
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- 9: What We Lose