So many things have happened–to all of us. To us as individuals. To our country. To… everyone has been touched in one way or another. Some more than others, some less. But here it will be shared the long-lasting and recurring theme that seems to pop up for everyone. Have we been thrust into an abyss from which there is little return, hope, moral and ethical decency? You may not wonder and know exactly what it all means for you–good or bad. Here the silence will be broken as we relate what it means to us.
We know the church, the government, so very many are corrupt. As it has always been, it always will be. Any sane, thinking person knows this. We think of women in the #metoo movement. They spoke out bravely, pursued justice. A recurring question is asked: “Why didn’t you speak up sooner? How do we know you’re telling the truth now?” Not to blame the questioner here, but this question is coming from white males, generally accused of acts against these women. It is also asked by church leaders and judges. Is that not an answer in itself? We pass their questions off as a weak defense for the actions they have committed against wives, children, the ones they call “sluts” that they bragged about scoring with in high school or college as their dads bragged about their sons’ conquests and the females lived in quiet shame because, after all, they “asked for it.” But what about those too small, too young, too afraid of retaliation in its horrific forms? The answer there would be, “What happens in the family stays in the family.” Or better, “You don’t understand, they really love you so keep your mouth shut.” Or the worst, “God will punish you for saying such nasty things.” And to be fair, is it any matter what age you were, what your station in life was, at the time of assault? No, a violation of one’s body is a horrendous violation regardless. The only thing worse is not being able to speak up or shield oneself. Being called a liar.
And then we take what is going on in our country’s highest office. We have a petulant, vengeful hater who demands retaliation for any who speak out against him. And he gets it. Just today, Lt. Col. Vindman was escorted out of the white house because he obeyed the laws of the land and spoke the truth–whether it was popular or not. Vengeance was sworn by the chief executive and was swift in coming. Our minds immediately were appalled that a man, a MAN, a purple heart patriot, spoke the truth and was slaughtered on the altar “I’ll show you” and he is gone, in a disgraceful and humiliating way. Why don’t women speak up? Look at the MAN who did and what happened. It chills the heart. What more abuse would a woman suffer from the SELF-righteous “pussy grabber”?
We let these things get to us. We do not ignore them. Why? Why not just “do what we can where we are”? Why not just spread kindness and empathy here in our little corner of the world? We try. But at night, the dreams come up of abuse, of being silenced, of retaliation by those in power over a child. It is like living and reliving the trauma over and over again. The fear, the pain, the closed mouth that dare not speak. Speaking and being punished for telling the truth. Then the interminable silence. And it kills us. We watch the retaliation that has begun a few short hours after the chief executive declared himself innocent. The majority of voters did not declare him innocent, he himself did. He spewed vitriol and hate, retaliation and profanity. He went to a prayer breakfast and said he didn’t buy the words of the gospels because they didn’t fit his plan for revenge. NO ONE SAID A WORD. Silence kills. Silence is assent to this galling behavior. And those of us who have been assaulted, attacked, traumatized, watch our worst nightmares we lived through live in this day, right now, on TV and social media. NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING.
Behind closed doors, MEN quake in fear of retaliation, not even thinking of those who will go down with them because of their silence. But NO ONE SAYS A WORD. No one said a word as other dictators with their demands for blind loyalty eliminated one by one those who would espouse truth. Hussein, Idi Amin, Mussolini, Putin, and most famously, Hitler. Paranoia? Not thinking that is reasonable to assume. Muslims are banned from our country. Latinx and others labeled as vermin. Now those members of Congress who stood for truth singled out for “very bad things will happen.” We are on the brink of a wave of genocide which will include anyone not loyal to the chief executive. Hitler did not just target the Jewish people. He targeted political opponents, LGBTQ people, the disabled–anyone he found to be disdainful or a voice for humanity and truth. And then, as now, NO ONE SAID A WORD, NO ONE SAYS A WORD. Children are caged, abused, records are being destroyed detailing the crimes against humanity as this is being written. ICE = GESTOPO. Pedophiles are laughed at, racist and hatemongers receive presidential awards and exoneration. Murderers are pardoned as part of the military. No notes are kept of presidential meetings with foreign operatives such as Putin. Legal requests are denied and the attorney general makes sure the law protects the chief executive above all and at all costs.
Look at what has happened, the lies and self innocence proclaimed, and then ask those that are at the mercy of those who would use the power they own and ask again, “Why didn’t you say something?” Why indeed. Church leaders encourage the patriarchal power. An example: our father served in WWII. He unknowingly followed his cousin across Europe, as his cousin was liberating those detained in concentration camps. When the war was over, the two realized they had always been only kilometers apart toward the end of the war. When asked by one of their elders what it was like liberating the detainees, both were silent. The cousin said, “It was unimaginable horror. I never want to see or talk of it again.” He cried and the father and his cousin shared a moment of horrifying remembrances of what they had seen without ever saying a word aloud. Later in life, our family was dining with the Southern Baptist preacher of our church in the San Joaquin Valley. The Watts Riots were on television. The dad and the preacher sat watching and the dad said, “You know there’s a cure for that. Just get out a machine gun and mow them niggers down.” The preacher NEVER SAID A WORD. Watching this, hearing this, our stomach churned and we had to run to the bathroom. A man who could not stomach what had happened in WWII was more than willing to watch it happen here in the USA. Not 200 miles away. We said goodbye after we threw up and walked home. We NEVER SAID A WORD.
So as we think about what has happened in the past weeks, over the time the chief executive has been in office, we reach out to all those traumatized in the past, now, and possibly in the future. We exhort you to SPEAK UP AND SPEAK UP. Our silence will kill us as surely as will this dictator. We must protect each other, those who still have no voice. Please help end the trauma, the revenge, the silence. Look at the people you love around you. It doesn’t matter what political party they belong to, they are still the people you love. Protect them. Be their voice if they cannot speak. Stop the pain, the hate, the foreseeable genocide of a free USA. Stand and SPEAK.