In the South Whidbey Record and other media, I’m now seeing the words “fear of retribution,” “complicity,” and “risks of reduced government funding” in response to those who speak out about their opinions or stand up for their principles or offer safety to those in need.
I’ve heard the words “banned,” “gagged,” and “fired” in connection with anyone who might disagree with the current administration or provide unfavorable information to the public. These threats are coming from within.
If there is one thing our current president knows/believes, it’s that money trumps ethics, values, principles, and beliefs (does everyone have a price?).
Such oppression makes it more vital to speak out, to maintain integrity, to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Risks define humanity, patriotism, heroism, and compassion. Whether the examples are beaten freedom riders in Alabama, suffragists jailed for marching, Kent students shot by the National Guard, or individuals threatened and jailed at Standing Rock, this country has been shaped and built by those who have supported values of freedom expressed in our Constitution/Bill of Rights and inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The people who have supported the rights of themselves and others in the past are what make your life possible. Positive action doesn’t involve gags, blindfolds and bans.
Once our courage fails, then, indeed, power/money trumps what has, in the past, made this country a good place to live. Standing up for your rights and the rights of others today is what will make it possible for your children and grandchildren to have the opportunity to stand up for their rights tomorrow.