Pressing Mute

Silence is hurting democracy on both sides of the aisle

Recent accounts of Republican Representatives avoiding traditional annual town halls is deeply troubling…not just to liberal and independent constituents, but to conservatives, as well. Our elected officials are compelled to listen to those who support them, as well as to those who object. They don’t get to have a choice. Yet, somehow, there are any number of politicians across this country who are using blatant lies, such as “paid protestors” to excuse themselves from uncomfortable situations and, ultimately, undermine citizens’ voices. Elected leaders must be held accountable and the unwillingness of these particular individuals to step forward damages the system for everyone.

Silencing can come in many forms and is political party neutral. Political Correctness limits free speech and insulates tender hearts. Too far in either direction is damaging to those who want to live in the middle. The louder the fringes yell, the less the center is heard. It insults those who expect to state their complaints. It panders to those who do not want constructive discourse. It diminishes the legitimacy of all people to participate in our government, because as one voice is silenced, more and more will follow.

Everyone’s right to pursue happiness is endangered when one person’s is taken away. Therefore, any person cheering for one-sided politics is damaging their own personal and political freedoms. It means we cannot shrink away when someone says something ugly, nor can we refuse them a voice. We need not abandon combating immoral, unethical and indecent individuals, but bullying people into silence — even in the name of good intentions — will not fix society’s problems.

The perceived silence of our political appointed leaders is no better. If they are not communicating or their messages are filled with lies, they discredit their positions.

And none of us should be silent about that.

If you agree, help spread the message. If you disagree, speak up and say why. Relying on politicians isn’t enough. If the people are the power, we must wield it.

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