Last time I posted about Black Lives Matter (BLM) was in August of 2015 which is, in my view, too damn long ago. The last time I spoke out was due to a disruption during the Sanders campaign. By confronting Bernie, BLM drew heat from oh so many white liberals, who felt the sting of "why us, we're the good guys," instead of feeling the burning shame that should of accompanied being called out as part of the problem. In response I wrote a short piece in support of BLM, knowing that my role begins by speaking and acting loudly in all the spaces that I'm a part of, not the least of which is my own website.
I haven't even been able to do my simple 15 minute podcasts because I can't sort my Stoicism from my Stoicism. The podcast, Good Fortune, is important to me as both a personal practice and as a service to our Stoic community. I only say as a service because of the gracious words of encouragement and notes of thanks that I've received from many. I have intentionally framed Good Fortune in a neutral manner, laying out Stoic ideas and practices in a way that is accessible to as wide an audience as is possible without degrading the philosophy. I am happy to do this. I will continue to do so. At the same time, this world is burning. Stoicism demands I walk into the flames for others sake. For my own sake.
Stoicism is not a neutral philosophy. It certainly has practices that can apply to any person willing to invest thought and time. It has quotes that can probably strengthen the resolve of anyone that brings them to mind. Stoicism also makes demands. It is a virtue philosophy. It demands character. It demands action. It demands we become better. Stoicism doesn't care that you're free from anxiety, it cares that you use that freedom to boldly build a better world. And yes, I'm anthropomorphizing Stoicism. It's to save time. "Stoicism" is a hell of a lot better than the men who have taught it throughout the ages and I don't have time to lay out caveats to every statement I make right now.
So last night I was marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter PDX. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are dead, like so many other black men and women. So I joined others in expressing solidarity by showing up. I have a lot I want to say and perhaps will concerning that march. Personally concerning how virtue is lived out. Politically concerning where my duty lies in society. Racially concerning the need for white people to both show up and shut up. That's for later. This minute I just need to say that I can't speak about "big tent" Stoicism unless I find an outlet for Stoicism as I live it. So, if nothing prevents it, that outlet will be here.