“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”Hunter Thompson
The front runner for Governor in Arizona called our President illegitimate. A Republican candidate in a Georgia primary debate called the president of the United States a fraudulent pedophile. Not one person, not the moderators, not the other primary candidates, not the audience, not the press said one word about how heinous that statement was.
Whether you voted for or support President Biden isn’t the issue. Allowing lies to go unanswered is.
When the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush came down to just a few hundred votes in the state of Florida law suits over how the “chads” were interpreted (I won’t go into that debacle in our history but it’s well worth reading) went all the way to the Supreme Court. One swing vote was all it took to call Bush the winner. Half the country was furious that one Justice’s opinion had changed the outcome of a national election, especially when he had won the popular vote and every justice who had sided with Bush had been appointed by a Republican. But not once did Gore demand to overthrow the results, ask armies to storm the Capitol, call it rigged or spread lies he had really won and democracy had failed. The law of the land had spoken.
No one called George W. Bush illegitimate because one Supreme Court Justice in a 5-4 split decision decided he had won the Presidential election instead of Al Gore. The highest court in the land had rendered their verdict, the debate had been adjudicated and it was time for everyone to move on.
Silence speaks volumes.
When you are in a group and someone tells a racist joke what do you do?
Do you squirm and withdraw into your seat as far as possible, clearly uncomfortable with what’s being said? Do you let out an embarrassed laugh?
When someone is spewing lies or misinformation do you ignore their comments and hope they’ll stop?
Both encourage hate, mistrust, divisiveness and anger.
By not speaking up and making it clear they are offensive and unacceptable you imply agreement or that you condone what’s being said.
Too often, when faced with a choice between two sides where neither is appealing, people choose to do nothing. Believing they made a powerful statement by their inaction. In reality they just let others decide their future. Inaction has never been a driving force for change, it’s always been a wave that others have used and manipulated to get their way.
Both may be upsetting. Both may have flaws but if you abstain you abdicate your right to be unhappy with the outcome.
We all know ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. It’s just significantly worse when you finally do respond. A toothache needing a simple filling becomes so infected it needs to be pulled, a cat scratch turns into an abscess, indigestion an ulcer, a small tumor becomes a large one that metastasizes. When caught small it’s easier to resolve. Left to fester and grow, it becomes unmanageable and destructive.
Staying quiet and hoping the issue will go away, staying home and rejecting all options, only allows others to control your fate and forfeits your voice.
Whatever your opinion, whatever your perspective, staying silent allows others to fill the void with their words. They are the only ones heard because they are the only ones speaking.
We can’t bemoan the current state of affairs, get angry at the path we’re taking if we don’t participate. It may not end up as we want but it’s the only way we’ll have the possibility of impacting the results. From offensive jokes to offensive candidates to offensive intrusions on our bodies, to offensive violence. It won’t stop until we all step up and speak out.
Silence only serves the other side.
“We must always take sides.Elie Wiesel
Neutrality helps the oppressor,
Never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor,
Never the tormented”