The Thought for the Day – Randy Shilts

Insanity triumphed because sane people were silent. – Randy Shilts


Randy Shilts was an American reporter and author. He died of AIDS in 1994 and this quote – we neglected to note the book we heisted it from – concerns the utter lack of action and concern in America at the start of the AIDS epidemic. An openly gay man at a time when, and in a profession where, this was not common, Shilts’ influence on the way the mainstream media covered the AIDS epidemic was profound.

Today’s Thought actually could have turned up at any of History’s junctions and be accurate and, of course, it is still true today.

There is always insanity going on in the world. It has been part of the human experience since time immemorial. The fortunate and strong take advantage of those who have neither good fortune or strength. The evil take advantage of the good. The good, as human as anyone else, sometimes exploit their position to advantage. Six billion people, each living utterly random lives, get in each other’s way, sometimes with good results, sometimes with tragic results.

Some of the world’s insanities are out of our control, but some are not, and you might be surprised at what you can have some influence over. It isn’t easy. Every day there are a hundred different things to distract us. Livings must be earned and the kids have practice and the lawn has to be mowed and it is easy to wave something away and delude ourselves into thinking there wasn’t much we could have done about it anyway.

Sometimes this is far from the truth and you might be surprised what one person, acting out of conscience, can do, either individually or by inspiring others to follow them.

What insanities are we tolerating that we could do something about? It could be something national in scope, like running for office, or something as simple as trying to keep those rascals at the town hall from raising your water rates.

Whatever the insanity, we must not be silent. We must utilize our resources – our time, our talents, our money, if available – to make a difference.

It’s not easy to derail insanity because insanity has vast reservoirs of cunning and guile. But so do we. All we have to do is muster them.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quotebook, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.

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