Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. You are standing on the sidewalk in a small town, sun-burning as a Fourth of July parade rolls by. Main Street is small but it's jam packed with almost the entire town of about 2,000 people. Based off the statistics and your personal experience of the community it is safe to say that 90% of people around you are strongly conservative and 1 in every 3 owns some kind of firearm. So there you are, a little 18 year old, pacifist, theology major squinting in the glare of middle aged dad's florescent white be-shorted legs. So far you've seen the ATV club, Southern Baptist Association, Chaffee County Republicans and the hot firefighters (*bless*) go by decked out in red, white and blue.
Then, you see him. The man in the rainbow tutu. He is alone. A one man float. Besides the kaleidoscopic kilt, he is wearing Ray-Bans, a pink shirt that says "2016 sucked" and is holding a sign that says "Love Trumps Hate. Fight our racist homophobic, sexist president". He is flamboyant and defiant and the entire crowd goes silent in a mixture of annoyance, disgust and shock as he saunters by.
Let's be clear, this isn't a political post. I don't want to tell you what to think about political protest or Trump but I would like to advocate for something perhaps even more shocking. In our classes, in our churches, in our homes and in our friend groups we must become the man in the rainbow tutu. We must become the lone dissenter.
To dissent means "to hold or express opinions that are at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially expressed". I'm not telling you to go out and fight everyone just for kicks and giggles. I'm saying that "variance" is important. Rainbow tutu man represents the opinion that was different in the crowd. Difference is important; diversity is vital and I think we should be just as fearless in sharing different and diverse opinions as rainbow tut man was. What if rainbow tutu man wasn't there? What if there were no lone dissenters in our society? Well, nothing would happen. Everything would stay the exact same. We would stay in our boxes and not have to worry about if we were wrong. Lone dissenters remind us we don't know everything. They mix up our world. We need that.
This does not require that you sashay into your local Forth of July parade wearing nothing but your opinion and a multicolored tulle skirt. Being the voice of lone dissent sometimes looks like playing the devil's advocate or simply putting yourself in another person's shoes. It looks like considering all sides. So if you're not a rainbow tutu man in your environment already, become one.