I’m beginning the third volume of the Kold Kronicles trilogy. As you do when writing fantasy, you think about battles, war-fighting, using viruses as an economic as well as physical weapon, y’know, the kind of thing that writing fantasy allows you to do because it’ll never happen. The characters who are on the good side need to be brave since they could end up losing their life or badly damaged, physically as well as mentally. It started me thinking about what’s meant by bravery and the form it might take in this day and age.
There are many types of bravery, on the field of battle, or those private, dark night of the soul moments. It might be an individual standing up to power or a member of a group going against the majority view.
I have become aware that many brave acts tend to be driven by personal values. The individual feels they will be a lesser person if they do not act. The outcome of such bravery is that, invariably, they are mocked, pilloried and bullied in such a way as to try to intimidate them and others.
As for bullying, here’s a definition I can work with:
‘Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair penal sanctions, which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidence and which may cause them to suffer stress.’
Anyone in the White House come to mind?
Bullies need to be confronted, and hard. If you don’t, they feel empowered to double down and become even more of a threat to others, their behaviour even more egregious. Perhaps Captain Jean-Luc Picard in ‘Star Trek: First Contact’ had it right when he said of fighting the Borg:
‘We’ve made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far and no further.’
So, to The Squad; Mitt Romney; Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch; Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S Vindman; the impeachment prosecution team who resigned in disgust at Attorney General Barr’s behaviour; the former Conservatives who stood up to the UK’s current Prime Minister and his homunculus of an adviser; to you and so many others, confront, hold fast, counter attack.
This far and no further.
J J Mitchell
‘No one left behind’