They Say …

They say it is better to lie low these days. They add needlessly, “…given the atmosphere at present.” Which atmosphere ? In your city? Country? Global? Why lie low? What and who is everybody afraid of?
They say, don’t express an opinion. Why? Just don’t, they insist. On any subject? Yup. Pretty much on any subject. Even an innocuous subject like food. Nothing is innocuous these days. Is beef innocuous? Everything has implications. Double and triple meanings.
Every opinion they say is open to criticism, censure, analysis. Oh yes, and wild misrepresentation, too. They say that’s because every opinion can be interpreted in a thousand different ways.
They say this is not the time to debate. Besides, one man’s debate is another man’s quarrel. Who decides the rules of debate?
They say stop being outspoken. 
They say, pretend you haven’t noticed. Noticed what? Well, things that have changed, things that are unpleasant. 
Things that seem to be sliding into a dark abyss. 
Things that make people uncomfortable. 
They say it’s none of your business. Let the authorities take care of it.
They say it’s better to stay on the right side. Whose right side? 
They are somewhat vague while answering that question. 
Right, side of the law? 
Right, side of your immediate family? In-laws? The authorities? The road?
They say there’s no harm in playing footsie with powerful people. In the past, there were VPPs (Very Powerful People), who are nobodies today. Some of them are in jail. 
What if you align yourself with a powerful crook? They say you have to be smart. And adapt. 
They say it’s better to be a fair weather friend than a friendless idiot. Switching sides becomes so much easier!
They say a sense of humor is dangerous. Especially if you are caught laughing at the wrong things. 
They say you must not question authority, no matter what. If a ban is abruptly imposed, you have to observe the ban.
They say it’s better to shut up. And put up. Why open your mouth when you can’t be heard? Why fight back, when the bullets are in their hands? They say, if you want to stay alive, pretend to be dead.
Some are already dead. But millions believe in the resurrection, too. We live in hope. Hope has not been banned so far. Thank God for small mercies.