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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What battles are worth fighting?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38956points) March 4th, 2010

We have all been slighted, lied about, treated unfairly because of what have you…sometimes when we’re angry and we share our frustrations with others, people say ‘forget about it, they’re not worth your energy – this isn’t a worthy battle’ and sometimes we agree and let the situation go…at the expense of justice, revenge, truth, etc. I began to wonder about what battles are worthy of fighting and continuing with in my life and which would be worthy of fighting in that of the lives of others (Fluther, for example)...I think that I fight more often than necessary (or more often than others would) and it affects my sanity, I don’t let go enough because I can’t deal with leaving things be as they are when those at fault (in my opinion) have been able to continue along their wrongful path after they have wronged me (and the thoughts just consume me, the anger at someone having a wrong judgment of me even if they are irrelevant)...a lot of this has to do with certain work situations I’m dealing with and I must figure out how to deal with these issues – my instinct is to stand up for myself and to maintain dignity but to some others (like my superiors) this is certainly not a priority and so I must compromise and do what I am told…this bothers me…on the other hand, with certain people, like with my mother I have given up on certain battles because I have learned that it’s better for me to just not get into it…but if something will come up in terms of my friends, husband, children being hurt or treated unfairly, all hell will break loose and those people will pay…

So what battles are you usually involved in, if at all? Are they about you, your loved ones or about concepts and standing up for certain beliefs or ideas you consider important to always explain? Is it about certain injustice that you just can’t ignore? How does this relate to your activism?

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58 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

What a wonderful question. I have a hard time selecting mine properly. I will just listen.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I’ll fight apathy
ooo Parks and Recreation is on…

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If someone i knew was in danger, i’d mess the threatening party up. The tuition hikes here in CA are pretty outrageous.
I’ll fight that.
Umm… ideologies? I’m generally against oppression.
Whatever ideologies promote oppression, I’m against that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy and which ideological battles are worth pursuing?

Cruiser's avatar

The last piece of chocolate cake!! I always win except when she is around…then I share!

liminal's avatar

Compassion trumps everything for me.

janbb's avatar

I found myself furious and fighting through most of the Bush years: I’d read the newspaper every morning and want to go out and bust something. My husband could barely stand me at times; not because he disagreed but because he felt I was so intemperate. I felt that my country was being destroyed. I was so hopeful when Obama was elected; now that hope is withering into a kind of despair. I’m not sure which is worse – the passionate anger I felt or the despair I now feel. “The best lack all conviction; the worst are full of passionate intensity….”

(Which, by the way, is in no way saying that I’d like to go back to the Bush years! I still think we are far better off with Obama as President, just that the enemy was clearer.)

SeventhSense's avatar

Those that involve life and limb…or a parking spot

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I protect my loved ones without hesitation and it has landed me in alot of hot water on occasion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@liminal can you elaborate? I’m biased because I love to read your long posts..they give me hope

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

For me it’s important to fight battles that will help meet my highest ideals. For example I’ll fight until I’m out of breath to make sure that, even if someone disagrees with my view on the seriousness of climate change, they will see my view and even agree that conservation is important. It’s important that we fight the battles that are worth fighting, not just the ones we can win… although the latter is certainly more “political” in that winning looks like success, but even our perceived losses may win a few minds in the dialogue.

cockswain's avatar

In any situation where my honor or that of a loved one has been tarnished. As cliche as it sounds, I would quit a job or get the crap kicked out of me without hesitation if I couldn’t reason through the situation. I say this having not done it in the past and vowing never to allow it again.

ChaosCross's avatar

What battles are worth fighting? Easy.

The ones for right and the ones for your friends, well, as long as they aren’t bad guys too. Because they will just end up betraying you in the next episode.

kyanblue's avatar

I want to answer this from a more everyday standpoint (not about civil rights, ethics, and morals, for example). When I’m arguing with friends and family—the important battles involve huge differences in communication, perceived betrayal, whether we make the other person feel demoralized and frustrated, an argument a long time ago I haven’t been able to get over with, treatment that is unfair (as a kid I’d always take it up with my parents if I felt they were favouring my siblings)...these are the kinds of things that really affect my relationship with others.

I try my best to grit my teeth and ignore insensitive comments when someone is having a bad day, disputes over laundry, undue sarcasm, and the like. Only 10% of the things that upset me about someone are really serious issues.

faye's avatar

I’d fight for any wrong doing to my children. I used to fight for my patients’ rights all the time. I kinda just laugh if someone is wrong doing me, as in verbal stuff.

Berserker's avatar

I stay away from battles. Let other people rip themselves to pieces. As a vulture, I’ll loot the bodies of their gold afterward.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Symbeline but how long will you have to wait?

talljasperman's avatar

ones you belive in

Berserker's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well really, it all depends on if I walk by an aftermath.

But no, I try not get involved, because it’s hardly worth it, whether it’s literal or a metaphor. I mean I’d fight to defend myself, or a loved one, but who wouldn’t?
Other than that, I just don’t see the worth. All sides end up feeling like shit, either way.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@talljasperman and which ones do you believe in?

gggritso's avatar

The appearing trend is that the battles that are worth fighting for are the ones with un-quantifiable rewards, and especially when other people are affected. Fighting for a nickel isn’t worth it. Fighting to defend your honour also isn’t worth it a lot of the time. Fighting to defend the honour and the rights of others seems to be worth it almost every time… This is a great question.

thriftymaid's avatar

Each person must make that determination for themselves.

Jewel's avatar

This is a very good question!
I will, too quickly, jump into a fight to defend family and friends.
I will also stand my ground when faced with idiocy. I don’t like to fight and will try to reason if the pin heads are capable of reason.
There is very little I will fight anymore. I have found, through hard experience, that even winning a fight often means we both lose.

john65pennington's avatar

Principle. i am a person of very high principles. i will stand my ground till hell freezes over, if i am right. best way to get on my bad side is to lie to me and never return money i have loaned you. i do not do these things and i do not expect other people to do them, at least to me. i am not a bad person. i believe that right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter what the final outcome may be. i tell it like it is.

kevbo's avatar

I think they are all worth fighting until the process teaches you which are worth fighting.

I have a funny story about my dad who is retired and walks his dog every day at the park down the street. He’s taken it upon himself to report to the police various code violations (such as someone having a boat parked in front of their house) and confronting (diplomatically) people at the park who violate the park rules, such as having dogs off leash or practicing golf or skateboarding on picnic tables. My dad is very much a law and order/follow the rules kind of guy. Recently, two dogs that were off leash ran up to his dog and began harassing it. He rightfully told the lady that she should have her dogs on a leash, and her reply was to tell him that she had a knife and would use it to cut his balls off. While the situation was pretty cut and dried in terms of her stupidity entering his space, it (and my mom) gave him pause to reflect on whether these confrontations are worth a possible altercation. So, now he’s just going to call the police and let them deal with it (which they won’t, but whatever).

So, my point is that I think it’s best to use what judgement you have, act however you feel compelled, and then evaluate whether it worked. That reminds me of a Bill Ayers quote to “see the world as it is, act in a way that will make it better (or something, I’m paraphrasing), and trust that your actions won’t make much of a difference.”

Not to drone on, but the process of iteration has kind of given me some perspective on my own battles. Despite some of my best efforts, it seems “ignorant” people are manufactured faster than I can “fix” them. It’s made me realize that there are times and ways that I can be effective and others that I simply can’t, and I suppose what matters is trying to be effective when I think I can be. But I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t beat my head against the wall (or other heads) enough times to gain an awareness of the whole head butting process and what might be a different option, strategy or type of opportunity.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the left/right political conversation in the U.S., and it’s kind of dumb because there’s always this struggle for control over the way things should be and neither side will give until they get their way. Repeat that dynamic 100 times, 1000 times, 1000000 times and what does it get you? Even if I and my ten closest friends realize the futility of that and decide to say fuck it we’re going to party and make some music, there are still plenty of people who believe they’re doing God’s work by carrying on that struggle. If fewer of us got in a wad over politics, we’d probably be a lot happier and a lot friendlier with each other.

liminal's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir you are sweet, I always feel verbose.

The refusal to allow ourselves to be exposed, dare I say pierced, with the suffering of another is the single greatest barrier to the eradication of injustice and oppression. . Compassion is more than empathy; it is the driving force that stirs us to ameliorate wrongs because we have allowed another’s reality to pierce our own. Practically speaking, my fight becomes that of asking people to look upon others not as enemy or stranger but as fellow sojourner. Sometimes this means giving energy toward understanding the one who is supposedly set up against me. Sometimes this means refusing to budge and providing shelter to the oppressed from their oppressors. It is always encouraging others towards unity.

cockswain's avatar

@kevbo Very thoughtful answer. I somewhat share your opinion on fighting over politics, but once we get tired,apathy sets in, and we stop defending the facts, we lose the tiny influence we do have. I’m pretty sure that’s what most politicians are hoping for.

YoH's avatar

Most of my battles have been concerning the rights of children caught up in the system or the foster care system. I believe in children having a voice. It’s been an easy choice for me to jump in and I have never regretted any battle.

davidbetterman's avatar

The ones worth winning, of course.

liminal's avatar

For some reason my answer didn’t take my edit. I said something about injustice and oppression confronting us from all directions systemically, globally, even into our very homes and work…

tinyfaery's avatar

For the most part, I am done arguing for anything. It’s never been very fulfilling and I don’t think any fundamental changes have occurred because I chose to fight for/against something. The very idea of fighting seems so foreign to me now. That’s not to say I don’t have ideals and that I do not actively try to effect change. I just don’t fight anybody about it.

The battles I fight are with myself and how much I can just let things go. It’s not always easy and sometimes I do find myself arguing some point or another, but I really try not to. I do it for my sanity.

mcbealer's avatar

a long time ago someone shared with me 3 cardinal rules for surviving in the real world:
Don’t mess with anybody’s :
1. family
2. vehicle
3. money

Bluefreedom's avatar

I would fight for my right to party like these guys did.

Rarebear's avatar

The teaching of Creationism in schools.

Just_some_guy's avatar

I will fight any wrongdoing or disrespect for my children and their mother (my ex wife). I will fight any physical or mental damage to anyone close to me. I will fight to help someone who says help in the heat of the moment. I have a tendency to act then think in these situations. As for friends I don’t fight with them. We are very open with one another, and arguments are always ended the same as a joke. I will get back at someone who causes me problems that effect my family. Might not be a fight or argument. I might cause them the same type of problem from the background and hope they learn from it. If they don’t oh well revenge is sweet. I don’t really associate with people I don’t trust so I don’t really have betrayal issues. I fight when I feel outraged about something, but I don’t really feel that way from friends or family. I don’t really allow people to get the chance to betray me. I am a pretty simple guy socially. Tho if you steal from me and I so much as think it was you expect a few broken fingers or teeth or maybe a broken nose. I didn’t see your theft coming don’t plan on seeing my fist coming.

mammal's avatar

@Bluefreedom i agree, in fact i recently got into a scuffle with a bouncer and subsequently handcuffed by the Police, because i dared to attempt to finish my drink instead of running out the door when the fascists screamed closing time! Now i offered to drink my drink outside, but was told i couldn’t, so i went back inside, after all, we had spent some cash at the bar, people were good humoured and so forth, but were being corralled out by a particularly overzealous bouncer, which pissed people off :( and even though i was staggeringly drunk, i felt that familiar upsurge of stubborn indignation…well, one thing led to another and the Police split us up. Not sure what the moral to this story is, but it’s usually a good thing to stand up to fascist overbearing behaviour wheresoever it should materialise… in the pub, at work, on the street and so forth. Sadly if you are drunk you lose all credibility for your point, even though it is valid.

mattbrowne's avatar

When disagreeing with people we really care about.

jfos's avatar

@mammal Very good. That’s what I would have done. Also, how long could it possibly take to finish a drink? I’m sure that if you still had to pay, they would have waited for that!

CMaz's avatar

“What battles are worth fighting?”

Ones that you consider a battle.

liminal's avatar

When it comes to standing up for myself or someone else I always have to check my pulse. Am I feeling ramped up and aggressive? Am I centered and assertive? Am I checking out and being passive?

I want to be centered and assertive when it comes to conflict. Generally the more I moralize a situation the more agitation (and less clarity) I have. I am best centered by not getting tangled up in the right and wrong of a given situation and by moving into being responsible for my part in any given dynamic, while leaving the other to handle their own responsibility.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@liminal My supervisor, who is the absolute sweetest person and an amazing social worker holds the same beliefs as you – she gives all people the benefit of the doubt and repeats over and over that people’s lashing outs at me are about their other problems…well obviously I know that’s true because they don’t know me but I am not as quick as her to forgive them just because they are transferring…it’s no excuse

liminal's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir sometimes the trickiest thing to do is confront people with their own responsibility. A desire to be gentle with others and understand them is no excuse for backing away from holding others responsible for their behaviors. I also think confrontation is best done with gentleness, focus on the facts, and without emotion. I know this is not an easy thing. Are you in the position of being able to directly confront those who lash out at you or are you dependent on your supervisor to do that?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@liminal it’s kind of both. I interact with them directly and I haven’t responded in any kind of an offensive manner but they treat me like crap anyway…my supervisors made a mistake before and now they’re trying to remedy some things with the highers up there…and I had to meet the Chief doctor and defend myself but he is under pressure too and there is all this stuff happening that isn’t related to my situation…anyway, there isn’t any resolution, I know they will still be assholes to me…but I will be able to not care more because I stated my case and my superiors believe me

liminal's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir it sounds intense. That is one part of employment I don’t miss. I hope your supervisor now feels accountable to keeping your path clear of obstacles that you don’t have the means to keep clear yourself and not to be an obstacle herself.

SeventhSense's avatar

Maybe you need to take a trip back 70 years and find out what real Fascism is about. Closing a bar and asking a drunk people to leave is hardly Fascist. Those guys were doing their job and you were making it hard for them. If anything you should apologize. Do you now how many people would linger another hour or more if everyone was allowed to nurse their last drink?

mammal's avatar

@SeventhSense possibly but there is a very murky area as to whether you should forewarn the people in the bar prior to closing or you should allow people to consume what they paid for in good faith, whether they were drunk or sober. This was a badly managed situation. it might come as a surprise to you that the management and the police aren’t always right…

talljasperman's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t know what I belive in… but I do belive in something….I’ll keep track of my fights and get back to you

liminal's avatar

I am thinking about posting a link to this question when I come across fluther arguments that start to run around in circles. :)

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s a bit of a stretch to assume that self indulgences and failure to exercise self control or be aware of a prudent closing time can be extended to police or management abuse.

mammal's avatar

@SeventhSense well the place in question closed an hour earlier than usual, next time you have a bad meal or service or are shuffled out of somewhere like cattle because it suits someones fancy i trust you will be the perfect gentleman :)

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