I am a fraud. Yep. I put up a good front: writing letters to the paper supportive of good causes, writing books, poems, and other stuff. But when it comes to being present at events needing supporters, where am I? When it comes to volunteering at places to help the homeless and the hungry, where am I? I talk a good line, but I don’t act on my words.
The state motto for North Carolina is Esse quam videri, which translated means “To be rather than to seem.” In other words, put your action where your words are, girl. And I must confess, I “seem” more than “be.” Thus I fail to live up to our state standards. For example, I am an animal lover, as seen by my forthcoming book on rescues and comments on Face Book and Twitter. But my body does not show up to volunteer at the animal shelter or one of the rescue group events. So it’s all a sham, and I am acknowledging my lack of follow-up to my words. I might attend a Planned Parenthood event, or a poetry reading, or an open mic where I read my own stuff, but I go when it is convenient to go. Yeah, I have feelings of guilt, but even so I end up sitting at a computer, or I take a nap, or I read a book . . . in the comfort of my own home. During the Occupy Movement’s big debut, did I show up down town to join in the protests? When others gathered in Raleigh for some important cause about health or poverty or injustice, was I among the throngs? I think you have guessed the answers to those questions.
The legitimate excuse for me, of course, could be my age. I’m no longer the young, eager advocate for everything. I’m now the old advocate who sits home and writes blogs about justice, or maybe peace, or kindness, or whatever seems to be the issue at the time. But, you may argue, words are important. What if the Declaration of Independence had not been written? What if the Barmen Confession had not been written? What if Plato’s Republic had not been written? What would we have studied in our philosophy, theology and civics classes? What if ideas came about and were professed publicly solely as speeches where words rode the air currents and then disappeared, victims of their impermanence? Would the world be different from what it is today without the presence of witnesses who dared to be counted despite the dangers? Yes, there have been documents that were powerful enough to change governments and other human beings, but I was not their author. I think my defense through arguments such as these would be specious. So here I am, content to avoid actual activity, rolling around in words as a substitute. But there you have it. I may seem more than be, but here I am. In the profound words of that great adventurer Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” And so I end this brief shower of words.