Everybody knows the funny little saying by either Lincoln or Twain the goes:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
I always giggle at it, while simultaneously worrying that it would deter people from asking questions or explaining their views for fear of judgment. Speaking as though one has absolute truth is one thing; engaging in dialogue as a means of discovering “truths” is another.
We miss so many opportunities to become enlightened by our loved ones simply due to a lack of engagement. When I’ve brought up the detrimental effects of hostility towards/rejection of Others, people close to me tried to tell me I was wrong for explaining what I’d observed and felt.
Do you understand what happens there?
- “That hurts me and others, and that’s problematic. It sets a bad precedent.”
- “No, you’re wrong about your feelings. Also, because you’re gay/brown/a woman, you deserve it.”
They could have asked questions, rather than writing me off because it wasn’t their truth. They could have listened to understand & recognized that I was hurt (because it hurt to find out people could be so terrible). Seems like something you do for someone you claim to love, and my resulting feelings of betrayal were incredibly painful for a long time.
Their reaction made me lose trust, affection, and respect for them. It created resentment and tension.
Luckily, I’ve been able to have good heart-to-hearts with them since & mend some of those fences. And it wasn’t because we changed our positions—they saw beyond opinions that were given to them, formed their own, and saw through to my humanity. And I got to see their humanity shine through what had kept us apart. We changed, got a new perspective, and transcended our former positions.
Imagine what would have festered if we had kept silent.
I would have stayed away permanently. They may have become indignantly dug into their position, held onto their hate/prejudice, and become even more detrimental in the viewpoints and scribes they’re willing to accept.
Failure to speak can do unfathomable damage, especially when the silence becomes permission for destructive forces.
Here’s an obvious example of silence-as-permission: the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
It’s broken millions and blackened others.
From the beginning of his political career, Tronald Dump embodied the worst characteristics of our society… and it wasn’t a dealbreaker for people. He was given the office of President even after being blatantly racist, xenophobic, homophobic, truth-phobic, etc…
He said Obama may not have been born here, in that stupid-ass I’m just saying tone of his. We all know the meaning behind the insinuation. It’s related to “go back to where you came from.”
And yet… people said nothing.
He disparaged John McCain.
And nobody slapped him in the mouth.
He confessed to molesting women ON CAMERA.
That didnt disqualify him.
Time after time, he encouraged the worst ideas.
Nobody stood up to him. Nobody told him to sit down and SHUT THE F-CK UP. And nobody corrected their friends and family who repeated his hateful and ridiculous rhetoric.
Trump’s racism was explicit and undeniable, but that wasn’t a deterrent.
And the reason why it wasn’t a deterrent is the greatest question people have to answer. They should answer it to/for themselves, and it’s time for the rest of us to hear the answer.
Because if you leave it up to assumption (which is what staying silent in this instance does), the only answer we can assume is that you agree. And many (most?) of the things this president represents go against decency, truth, and the values we’re supposed to have.
Failing to speak against trump told me that I couldn’t trust people. Their failure to reject his blatant grossness said that they agreed with him and they weren’t who I thought they were. The fact that they didn’t say “oh hellllll naw” meant they were fine with being associated with a disgusting bigot.
Silence in the face of something wrong becomes permission. Silence is endorsement. In the case of trump, endorsement of what he represents. And he represents, loudly and proudly and prominently, some horrendous ideas.
Our fellow citizens’, family members’, friends’ failures to reject his moronic ideas has been a huge let-down. It destroyed the illusion of a social contract that racism is wrong, that we shouldn’t deal in unkindness, and that we weren’t still a hateful country.
We’re seeing the blowback from that regressive, hateful ideology with the protests. Once again, the dark spirit that trump gives life reared its ugly head. And finally, people have had enough.
Not only did the majority of American voters not want trump, we have to live in a society of emboldened people with the most ignorant and destructive viewpoints because of him.
Not only has this presidency been annoyjng and disheartening, it has fomented major distrust for our fellow Americans (sometines, some of our own family members). Trump’s America has even made some of us embarrassed to be American:
Drumpf was a reaction to Obama.
He gave permission to the underlying resentment many [white] people felt when a black man obtained the highest office of a country they consider built “for them”… and that’s pitiful.
Not only it is pitiful because is betrays a wallowing self–pity, but also because it exposes a Jim Crow feeling that black Americans STILL aren’t considered American.
And it’s pitiful that it took someone like dt to give them a voice.
Couple of videos I pulled phrases and inspiration from…