Fueled by the disgrace of the Mexican War, in 1849, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay the Massachusetts poll tax funding the war. He was then arrested. His friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson came to his aid (without his consent), and paid the tax so that Thoreau could be released.
Emerson agreed with Thoreau in principle but thought it was all rather pointless to argue. It wasn’t going to change anything. When Emerson met with Thoreau in jail, Emerson asked his friend, “What are you doing in there?” Thoreau replied, ” What are you doing out there?”
Thoreau went on to write Civil Disobedience. An essay is mainly on the idea that people shouldn’t stand by and allow the government to enable them as “agents of injustice.” That, over time, we become numb and tolerate this kind of behavior when we do nothing about it.
Thoreau was right. More than we even realize today.
You have to start somewhere. Someone has to care to begin. Even when no one else does.