It is rare in any era to see people who are willing to stand up against crowd psychology, whether it be propagated by countries, companies or the torches and pitchforks of local citizens. This is why the picture of the young man standing against the tanks in Tiananmen Square a few years ago is so memorable, and why we praise those few who had the courage to stand against the Nazi terrors.
The too-common response is “you have to go along to get along”, or that all-time favorite copout of our new generations, “whatever”.
We play “twister” with our morals in order to justify the acceptance of policies and activities that we know in our hearts are wrong.
I wrote the poem, “Am I a Man” (Daydreams, 2004), in a “round” type of rhyme, to show how difficult it is, sometimes, to do the right thing. When the crowd stands by and watches evil triumph, the members often justify their inactions by telling themselves, “I’m only a man” or “only a woman”. The word “only” has justified a lot of evil in our history.
As you read this poem, ask yourself what you are.
Glenn K. Currie
Am I a Man
I am a man, I am a man,
A man I am, if only I can,
If only I can, take a stand,
If I can stand, and raise my hand.
When honor calls, calls me to stay,
While others called, are fading away,
I hope that day, I can display,
The strength within, to find my way.
When I see crowds, in panic fly,
And in that panic, the truth deny,
Trampling in hate, those who defy,
The panicked flight to invented lie.
Then I’ll find if I am a man,
If against that crowd I can then stand.
Can I stand and raise my hand, Stop
From saying, “I’m only a man”.