The right thing and the easy thing are rarely the same. This is a truism that transcends subject, gender, economics, or culture. Life is funny that way. There is an opportunity cost to everything that we do. Despite the persistent search for the elusive "win/win" solution and despite the prolific claims of corporation executives that they deliver the "win/win" solution, the typical solution is either "I win/you don't and can't do anything about it," "I win/ you don't do so bad" or "nobody gets anything really good."
I am aware of how improbable what I am about to suggest really is. I want you to know that as implausible as it is, I suggest it all the same because I believe it. And, although I haven't always made the right choice; I try. I have spent a lot of time paying the price for for the times I did get it right.
It is obvious and often mentioned that if the average German could have found a way to set aside their dejection from the collapse of the Wiemar Republic and rejected the policies of Adolf Hitler, the lives lost in World War II and in the prison camps would not have been squandered. We see footage of the camps right next to sleepy little towns and the skeptical narrator without fail questions the veracity of the people that claim that they knew nothing about what was going on in the camps and they had no idea what that smell was.
When people are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, for a stranger, for posterity, we call those people "heroes." A hero is someone who goes above and beyond expectation in goodness, courage and nobility. For most people, the hero is usually someone else.
While it is understandable that the Americans, the British and the Soviets would have preferred Germany to be filled with heroes before the Nazi's became their problem, do they ask the same thing of themselves? Did the Soviets stop Lenin and Stalin from the travesties exacted under their reigns before they got outta hand? Did the British people rise up and force their government to stop the colonialization of distant lands and the mass destruction of distant peoples to make those acquisitions? Did Americans, formerly repressed citizens of Great Britain, rise up and demand the enemy combatants being held indefinitely under conditions blatantly in opposition to the U.S. Constitution, demand ajudication? No. None of them did.
In short, (I know it's a little late for that) if we each became our own personal heroes and became more practiced at choosing the more difficult "right" choices in spite of the easier, more comfortable alternatives, there would be more heroes available to band together when larger issues present themselves. The tragedies of the past would be issues of the past and not harbingers of the future.
Dawn Worthy owns Indianapolis based company Fresh From the Farm http://www.auntannsgardensoap.com with her son, Elias Worthy, at 6 years old, the youngest member of the regional MENSA. They use thought provoking articles and Aunt Ann's Garden Soap, a line of natural vegan botanical soaps to share a little green living with others.