The Cowardice of Anonymity

It is hard to find a story of good when the story playing over and over in your head is one of explosions and disregard for human life. It is hard to find the goodness in people falling to the ground, disrupted from their lifelong goal of crossing a Boston Marathon finish line. It is hard, yes. But, not impossible.

In yesterday’s events, I see a contrasting story of Good and Cowardice.

The Good I see is in that each of those people taking part in the Marathon affixed their names and numbers to their backs, proclaiming who they were and their noble ntensions. They even had digital markers on their bodies, so that loved ones could track their progress throughout the race. In doing this, they have claimed their own identities and taken responsibility for their choices.

I see the same Goodness coming from those who are registering for a Massively Open Online Course on Blended Learning in DPS. They have affixed their name and made promises to connect with other educators around the globe. They have agreed to write and contribute with their own voice to an ongoing conversation about change in education, and to cross a finish line in five weeks, wiser and more collaborative than before they started.

This is the Goodness of coming together and becoming a part of something bigger than yourself. It is the goodness of stating for the record, who you are and what you want.

I would like to contrast that goodness with the Cowardice of Anonymity.

It is cowardice to make something without claiming it. It is cowardice to keep your intentions secret. You become a troll for making a comment on society with indiscriminate destruction. It is far worse than the anonymous commentors who spew hate on the web, but it comes from the same place. Being anonymous when it comes to acts of terror is trying to get away with bullying thousands or millions of people.

And just like the commentors, the hate will never win. Bullying does not work, because there are far more people who are willing to run the race and place their names on their backs. There are far more people who will join a learning endeavor in an effort to better themselves and their practice. And there are far more people who are willing to sign their names on their creations.

Good beats cowardice because we put our names on things.

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