I think we all like to think of ourselves as bright, moral, and strong, both physically and mentally. Historically though, most people slide into the slipstream of consciousness when real troubles emerge. This numbness enables villains to wreak havoc both locally and globally. If every individual who initially thought, “Whoa, what are you thinking?” would act upon their reservations, events like market manipulation leading to national bankruptcy, political and religious inquisitions, and ethnic cleansings would be thwarted before they left the lips of their perpetrators.

But it is difficult to resist the thought police. What happens when we are surrounded by people with ideas contrary to our own? What do we do when people we care about rely upon us to say and do the “right thing?” How do we respond when there is an answer for each of our arguments? Who is strong enough to resist the kernel of doubt that slips through the net of our beliefs?

Each social and political calamity that grips the world entraps individuals who know better. Some of those people begin to doubt their own faith and sanity. The edges of their conscience are worn smooth by argument, threat, embarrassment, and fear. The path of least resistance is tempting when the struggles of daily life consume our energy.

But each social and political calamity also exposes individuals who know better and act upon their beliefs in spite of great risk to themselves and their loved ones. What is it that gives these people¬the resisters the strength and courage to fight? These resisters fascinate me. I am in awe of them. They come in all sizes, colors, shapes, religions, and ages.

My great fear in life is that I would fail the test. Is it in me to know that I am right when everyone is telling me I am wrong? Do I have the fortitude to stand up to the Saddams, the Maos, and the Hitlers of the world? Do I have the grit and determination to stand strong in the face of hideous torture not only to me, but to my family and friends as well? With any luck, I will never know the answer to these questions. Meanwhile, I wonder what do the rest of you think?