Community Responsibility (Response to Waking Life Scandal)
By now it is national news that Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens, owners of Waking Life Coffee have done some pretty fucked up things. For those who do not know the backstory you can learn everything you need to know here.
Naturally, Asheville residents are outraged. Apologies are not being accepted outright. This thriving Asheville business is destroyed overnight, and the prospects for a new location dismantled as well. All of this is well and good.
The response thus far has been apt; these men need their lives to crumble around them. National media has picked up this one. The severity should be complete.
And yet, who will be there ready to pick them back up?
We live in a society that is ready to tear anyone to shreds who displays social illness such as the misogynistic vomit of these two. However, as furiously as we can tear these two apart, we have lost the threads of compassion that allow us to eventually build them back up again.
We have lost our faith that people can change, grow and learn. This misogynistic illness is a part of a much bigger social illness in our society.
Yes these men have lost their trust. They have lost their career.
Do we just extricate them from Asheville? Do we as a community dump these two men on some other community elsewhere in the country? Or are we better than that?
In a world where so much of humanity is confronted with so much atrocity, it is each community’s responsibility to not only hold its members responsible for their actions, but to give them a chance to prove themselves, to change. Some of the biggest assholes can become some of the most invaluable and supportive leaders if shown enough compassion.
To those who are ready to tear them apart and throw them to the curb I have some news to break to you:
We are all in this together.
While these gentlemen need to have the world torn out from under them in a big and powerful way they also need to be lifted back up.
I see the outrage. I see the disgust. But I see very little of the balance necessary to be a healthy, strong and balanced community. I see an opportunity.
If we simply extricate these men and wipe our hands clean of them then we have done ourselves a disservice. We have lost an opportunity to function, holistically as a community. We have become the angry mob and have given our essential humanity over to blind rage to the loss of our true power.
My question is this. How do we rise up as a community to show that we are truly strong? We don’t need to be saints to understand that compassion is the ultimate path to a healthy vibrant world. If we do not balance rage with compassion then we are no better than the rest.
I believe in you Asheville, not only to take a stand against such disgusting behavior but to show the world that we can support each other at the same time.