I had always been under the impression that you stand up for what you believe in, you show empathy to those less fortunate than yourself, and you do the right thing even if you are standing alone. I had thought I was raised to believe and live by these principles and values, but maybe, I was wrong.
All I know is that as a person who values the diverse landscape of the human experience, I cannot stand idly by and watch hatred rise in this country that I always thought would be my home.
My very core of who I am prevents me from allowing a government to attack the freedoms I hold dear. I will not remain silent as a government threatens the freedom of religion with a “Muslim Ban”. I will not remain silent as facts are decried as “fake news”. I will not remain silent as the Justice Department works to undo civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans. I will not remain silent as public lands are opened up to oil and gas companies, climate change is censured, and the Clean Water Act is gutted.
Those are, unfortunately, only a small fraction of the things I will not remain silent on. Because, amazingly enough, this list doesn’t take into account the rise of bigotry and other Neo-Nazi sentiments. It does not take into account the oligarchic administration that emphasizes loyalty to a figurehead in place of loyalty to the Constitution and rule of law. It does not take into account the widespread attempt to legitimize lies and white supremacy.
Rhetoric spewed forth by entities like Alex Jones’s Infowars and Steve Bannon’s Breitbart and others are an affront to truth, justice, and democracy. When did honesty get replaced by deceit and conspiracy theories? When did our basic human values become perverted in such a way that America was so easily duped by a conman? When did the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar overtake decency, kindness, and love?
At the end of the day, you have to live with your decisions. You have to wake up, look at yourself in the mirror, and know you will be able to sleep at night. It is not always an easy thing to do. I know I have struggled with doing what is right, at times, because the right thing to do was too hard to accept or too difficult to understand or too scary to contemplate. What is right is rarely easy.
Now, I don’t know what you believe, or even if you have read this far, but I do believe this. I believe that “arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. I believe that how we act and what we say speaks volumes, which reverberate beyond our singular life. I believe we are all inherently good, but somewhere along the way, we lose sight of what really matters.
So, I will not apologize for standing up for what is right. I will not apologize for speaking out against racism or sexism or any of the many other ideals currently embraced by too many Americans. I will only say that I will continue to try to be the best version of myself everyday that I can.
God, your conscience, or whatever else guides you and your life decisions have led you to here, to this moment. To a moment where you have to decide if you are okay with what is going on. To a moment where you can either do something or continue in silence.
Enough is enough. Because, I am no longer willing to subject myself to people who claim their love by trying to break me down or want me to hide who I am. I am no longer willing to subject myself to the company of others who approve of and go along with the moral collapse of this country and its values.
No one should have to live in this rising climate of fear. Fear of reporting assault and being deported. Fear of serving this country and being told you are unworthy because of your identity. Fear of going to sleep and wondering if it will be your turn next.
Do understand that the threats to our way of life and our democracy are very real and the actions being taken now will have lasting consequences. How we respond to today will, one way or another, reveal the very depths of our character.
Equality was a founding doctrine of America. And, while we may have not always followed the path of equality for every person on American soil, we have continued to, slowly but surely, make things better. But, things don’t just get better by themselves. Action is needed.
Resistance is not futile. Resistance is required. Resistance is hope.