Shifting the world

There is no question American society is becoming more polarized. There are many competing theories as to why, from increasing income disparity, to indisputable racism, to unavoidable social media and ratings-dependent news. Political parties, or those who identify with one or the other, increasingly disparage members of the other, sight unseen. It is easy to wrap yourself up in your particular flag, with your friends behind you.

At MainStream, we try very hard to ignore those trappings, and stay connected to the issues and values that people share across these artificial boundaries. Sometimes that's difficult, and often, we like to joke, we know we're staying true to that mission when both sides call us names.

But it is refreshing to find issues where people agree, and places, online or in the real world, where they can come together to support those issues, regardless of their partisan preferences.


Which is why it has been so gratifying, as well as horrifying, to see the nation's reaction to the #metoo movement. Gratifying, in that women (of all political stripes) have been finding strength and support where they never thought they would. Horrifying, in the sheer number of women affected by sexual harassment or worse.

As with any issue, this is not simple. There are men who do not harass. There are women who have not experienced it. There are men who have. There are a myriad of other issues affecting all of these people, too, and all of it plays into how we interact with each other in the workplace, in society, and in our homes.

But this much is clear: treating any person as less than an equal human being is despicable. Using a position of power—over employees, job seekers, children, spouses, patients, etc., etc., etc.—to extract favors, sexual or otherwise, is despicable.

MainStream's founding principles include "respect for the rights, beliefs, and freedoms of all individuals." Often, that is interpreted in a political vein, but it holds true in every aspect of our work and life.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all the women, and men, who have come forward as part of the #metoo movement. Your courage is shifting our world, and we will get behind you and push as hard as we can. We encourage all of our members and supporters to do the same.

Stand up when you see discrimination in action. Speak out and add your voice to the millions already speaking. For every woman who adds her voice, her story, there are many, many more who cannot speak up, who remain in abusive situations, who are not famous, or whose abusers do not have a high perch from which to fall. It is for these people—migrant farm workers, foster children, minimum wage earners, working teenagers, elderly patients, and many more—that we need to shift the world a little bit more every day.

It starts here, with you. Do more than vote: get informed, get involved, make a difference.

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