I often hear people say, “I’m staying out of it; I’m not going to take sides; I don’t have enough information to make a decision.” However, that statement is implicitly choosing a side — in cases of a democracy, “abstaining” from choosing is implicitly choosing the side of the majority opinion. I know I’m oversimplifying it a bit and there are always nuances to consider. But making statements like “I’m not going to side with anyone” is also overly simplistic. And I would challenge the reason for not taking sides — if what is at stake is important enough, then it is important to do the work to gather the information to make an informed choice.

I was reading Madeleine L’Engle’s The Arm of the Starfish and there’s a good passage in here which advocates for choosing sides (between good and bad) and the impossibility of remaining neutral:

“I guess the real point is that I care about having a decent world, and if you care about having a decent world you have to take sides. You have to decide who, for you, are the good guys, and who are the bad guys. So, like the fool I am, I chose the difficult side, the unsafe side, the side that guarantees me not one thing besides danger and hard work.”

“Then why did you choose it?” Adam demanded.

Joshua continued to lean on the door. “Why? I’m not sure I did. It seemed to choose me, unlikely material though I be. And it’s the side that–that cares about people like Polyhymnia O’Keefe…. It’s the fall of the sparrow I care about, Adam. But who is the sparrow? We run into problems there, too. Now let’s have our coffee.”

 

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