I’ve been silent here lately. Silent everywhere, in fact. I have so much to say, but the words have been coming to me in private, in these bursts of notes on my phone, in conversations I’m having in my mind — all concealed. My silence is not consent to what is happening here in America. It may seem like consent, but the truth is, I have never been someone who reacts quickly and I don’t let words spill out from my mouth until they’ve been properly vetted within my mind. It’s the writer in me — tinkering, editing, even when the words haven’t hit paper/screen yet.
I like to know where I stand on things, on important things, because on social media especially, there’s a strong emotionality to every post now. (I don’t want to say these are ‘political posts’ because I think describing them as political is a way of diminishing their importance — we, as a nation, are grappling with the morality of who we are as a people and our politics represent our values.) So, this strong emotionality is warranted — I am experiencing emotions strongly, too — but I guess I’m trying to find that quiet stillness inside of me, that quiet voice which says, “This. This is the right thing now.”
I have questioned where compassion fits in here, where love fits in, where kindness fits in, where empathy fits in. Must you have compassion for the openly racist, the resurgence of self-proclaimed Nazis, the perpetrators of sexual assault? Must your empathy encompass those who lack empathy? Must you be kind to the unkind? Must you love the ones who hate? In a sense, sure, you will be better off with less anger in your heart if you extend outward your compassion, love, and understanding without discernment. Yet, the problem with these concepts is that they do not represent what is necessary when you must take action, must fight for the voiceless, must stand in the streets and display your protestations in loud, clear words.
Even the most tolerant should never tolerate hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and intolerance.
Right now, we can say that actions of the President are being misinterpreted, that outrage is being fueled by misinformation, that intentions are perhaps more important than actions. But, the problem with this is that history has set a precedent for how societies can go very wrong when people sit idly by and do not stand firm against discrimination in any form. Genocides. Internment camps. Slavery. There is a reason people are terrified right now — because history has left a legacy of bloodshed, terror, and injustice.
I’ve researched both sides of what seems to be a nationwide debate. I try not to only follow news or people who confirm my own beliefs and am not afraid to challenge myself. What I’ve seen from those that support Trump, for the most part, is an incredibly damaging fear of the Other — of those that still represent a minority percentage of people in this country. This kind of fear is poison that will snake its way around every aspect of life — and it’s the kind of fear that justifies bigotry all in the name of “safety.” I want us to be safe as a country, of course, but I am not about to make the victims seem like the enemies — I am not about to let fear dictate my humanity.
And, I will never stand on the same side as a reemerging KKK. Nor will I ever be on the side as a terrifying amount of people who are no longer ashamed to hold the same views and beliefs as Nazis. I will forever be intolerant to racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy. There is no mincing of words here — Trump’s messaging has created fertile breeding ground for hate to flourish. People must fight against fear, bigotry, hatred, ignorance, and discrimination. It is not hateful to protest for peace. It is not divisive to stand against the people who are preventing peace. Compassion is not complicity. Kindness does not mean you stop fighting for what you believe is right and just and fair for ALL PEOPLE, and especially the people who have been the victims of injustice and inequality.
To fight against injustice is not divisive. To stand for and be complicit of an unjust system IS the divisiveness. Perpetrators of racism are the dividers. Perpetrators of sexism are the agitators. If you think peace comes from being silent in the face of injustice — then your peace is dependent on the silence of the suffering. Compassion and love is not passive — and love should compel you to stand against anything which is not rooted in love. Love is not love without action.
Love compels me to stand fervently against a ban on Muslims — and you can mince the words and say it’s not a ban on Muslims, but it’s a ban on Muslims. Stop. It is. The immigration process is already incredibly difficult — I know, I’ve been through it with my husband who is from a Muslim-majority country. American citizens and green card holders are being detained and denied entry — this is discrimination and bigotry. Doctors, students, people who have lived here for decades — are being denied entry back to the United States. This is not okay. This is not standard procedure. This cannot be justified.
Love compels me to stand FOR factual evidence. A sentence I never thought I’d need to type and a disillusionment only 2016 could bring — that many people do not believe facts anymore? Facts are not here to suit your personal beliefs. Journalists at reputable news organizations have ethics to uphold. You’ve been watching too much House of Cards or Scandal if you believe the entire press is fake and incapable of reporting without bias — just because they don’t agree with your assumption of the facts doesn’t make the facts any less true.
Love compels me to say without condition that I fight for and stand with people of color and the LGBTQ community. There’s nothing to debate here. I stand with the full spectrum of humanity without condition and I am adamantly without condition against discrimination, homophobia, racism, sexism. I would think this is pretty obvious from anything I’ve written, but I find we are at a time in this country where people must be explicit about who and what they stand for. We need people who are ardently and without condition against any type of bigotry.
Love compels me to say that I am a feminist — and have been since before I knew there was a word for it. I fight for women. I marched at the Women’s March for women of all races, sizes, religions. I marched for our liberation, for equality in practice, not just on paper. I marched for women in America and for women across the world. I marched so that the full humanity of women can be recognized. I marched for a better world.
I love humanity — this is why I want a better world; I want peace for all; I want wars to end; I want love to reign; I want greed to stop; I want hatred to be eradicated; I want the power back to the people; I want the homeless to be housed; I want the disenfranchised to be heard; I want the voiceless to be amplified; I want fear to stop being the dictator; I want everyone to feel that this Earth is their home, that they are welcomed and loved and enough and worthy and that simply because they are here, they belong here.
I have no complete plan to make this happen, obviously. It’s a wish, a dream, a vision of what could be. I hardly even know where to begin. I am imperfect and I am learning. I am trying not to attack the ones who do not think like me. I am trying to write or talk or think in ways that promote the more loving and inclusive world that I want to live in. I am trying.
I hope you are trying as well.