“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,
never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormenter,
never the tormented.”
Holocaust Survivor, writer, and activist.
A dark blanket of despair, a moral blindness, has descended upon the United States of America. When I say this, I do not mean that women should wear only modest clothing, the novel Catcher in the Rye be banned, or that everyone attend church on Sunday to the exclusion of all other activity.
Instead, it is the kind of moral blindness that has the United States of America planting its embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, and celebrating as thousands of Palestinian Residents of Gaza are killed and wounded within what is essentially a prison camp.
It is a nation rich and powerful that neglects its most vulnerable members; immigrant children separated from their mothers if caught crossing our southern border. A tax cut where 82% of the tax relief is taken by the top one percent of American citizens. It is continued efforts to deny health care to the poor and oppressed. It is the incarceration of black Americans and Latinos at a rate that surpasses whites; where treatment of minorities on our streets simply living their lives can be fatal. It includes the seizure of lands sacred to First Americans, the indigenous people of this land, and the murder or rape of Indian women with barely a mention in the press or television.
At the time when climate change is more rapid and deep in ways that threaten the lives of billions of people on this planet, our government and leaders deny that it is even real or happening. Instead, there is a strong turning to fossil fuels as intensifying the use of wind, solar, and electric vehicles charged by these energy sources is perhaps the only way to save our species.
It is where the President of the United States has dehumanized an entire group of people; Latinos and by extension blacks as “animals.” It is where Fear, anger and hate have even been encouraged for white Americans as the return of a more virulent and dangerous white supremacy takes hold.
It is the continued assault on our democracy and its attendant institutions by the Republican Party and the President, allied with an ever more powerful oligarchy of businessmen and corporations. That includes the looting of the middle class and the government that used to protect the voiceless and vulnerable. It is voter suppression, and the willful blindness to the cyber-attack of a hostile foreign power, and meddling in the very heart of our political process. It is that party’s leaders turning to greed and power for themselves instead of the selfless public service envisioned by the Founders.
It is the failure to love and have a gracious empathy for others not like ourselves that is the most glaring moral deficiency.
We could simply despair, and becoming numb to the incessant war on human decency, love, compassion — simply doing what is right and not what is easy or convenient, simply tune out and create our own alternate reality.
Nevertheless, those of us who strive for right and what is morally just in our lives must ourselves, and with those who say “I don’t do politics or I am too busy for me to pay attention to what is ailing America;” put aside our moral lethargy and do something. We must not be silent. We can no longer be indifferent to the suffering going on right here in the United States; everywhere we look.
The nation is divided evenly between those who fear, hate and plunder, from those who seek a social and moral justice, who love democracy and our Constitution; our system of government, and who as the patriots of old will fight to preserve our Union and a democratic, compassionate, and just way of life.
“You cannot be neutral on a moving train” said the famed social activist and historian Howard Zinn. It is time for all those who think they are not affected by this “Night in America” to join those who know the score, who are in the fight and willing to sacrifice all for justice and right.
What side are you on? Does it feel good to fear others and to hate them? Why do you need to have all that power and wealth? Can you take all that along with you when you die? What will your life be remembered for on your epitaph on your tombstone? What would you most want it to say? In truth hate, greed, and a lust for power decays the soul, and drains energy from the essence of yourself.
They’re rounding up the usual suspects. Come get back into the fight and stand with us at the barricades.