I cannot remain silent

For the first time in my life, I have watched open hatred take center stage in history. I am experiencing in our society that which caused Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to start the mission that would become his mark in history. I have watched the openly public rise of racism, bigotry and misogyny. And for the first time in my life, this hatred has made it past the realm of internet trolls, closed doors and isolated individuals. It has become the defining drum of a major political party. And I cannot remain silent. I cannot sit here in my comfortable upper middle class life and keep my mouth shut. I cannot remain silent as open hostility toward minorities, immigrants and women in our country has for some reason become okay.

But don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into some hate filled retort against hate. No, that’s not how I work. Instead, I want to focus on where we’ve gone wrong as a society.

Regardless of your religion or creed, regardless of if you believe in a God or not, almost all of us were raised with an understanding of the differences between right and wrong. We were raised under the age old adage “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” We were taught history in schools — not out of some effort to bore us — but because those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

We’ve already been down this road, we learned as a society that xenophobia and racism are wrong. We learned that we have to treat women and people of color as equals in all things. We have to treat each other with the respect and care that is due to each one of us. And we have to not just do it, but we have to truly BELIEVE it. We have to fundamentally believe it at our core — believe in the truth that we are all equals. I can look out in the media and at the politicians and at the articles and at the hate speech and I can point to that and declare that we don’t fundamentally believe it as a society.

We don’t. And for a large many number of us, we don’t care. As long as it doesn’t directly impact us, we can remain neutral. We can remain silent.

I cannot remain silent. And neither should you.

Hate is hate is hate. Period.

We should not encourage hate, in any form. We should not accept hate, in any form. We should not allow for someone who spews hate, to ever speak for us as a people. Period. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve accomplished in life. If hate and fear is how you build your platform or how you decide to present yourself. If it’s what comes out of your mouth on a good day, then I don’t want you. I don’t want your message. I don’t want your influence in our society. And I don’t want you to ever represent me or anyone I love or care about. And I love and care about this country. I love and care about the people in this country, regardless of color, creed or gender. Regardless of sexual orientation or past mistakes. I love you and everyone like you. I even love the hate speakers, the misogynists and the racists. But you can never represent me, because you have chosen to hate that which is the core and fundamental premise of what defines this great country.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Declaration of Independence, 1776

I ask of everyone who reads this, of everyone who has a voice; Speak out against the hatred. It doesn’t matter what political party you are; this is a bridge, don’t jump off of it. Do something, please do something. It is not okay to be silent. It is not okay to turn a blind eye. It is not okay to not vote and not make a difference. Be the defining force that shows that hatred will never be acceptable in any way shape or form in this country. Free speech is not a justification for spreading hate and it’s not okay, ever.

Originally posted on my blog: http://www.emmanuelmarriaga.com/blog-1/2016/9/23/i-cannot-remain-silent

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