Silence is Complicity

The theme of my client holiday letter last year was “I didn’t see that coming.”
Or rather, how we respond to “I didn’t see that coming.” My letter told the story of my five-year-old great-niece’s love of wrestling and how when she was pinned by her older and bigger cousin she looked up at her dad in surprised disbelief, saying “I didn’t see that coming!” Then she popped up for round two.

After, I heard from a number of clients with words of agreement and encouragement. But one man sent an email suggesting I exclude “veiled” political statements in the future because there were many like him who “suffered” over the prior 8 years. My sister, the wrestler’s grandmother and an English professor, said “Well it wasn’t very veiled and sheesh who doesn’t feel that way (incredulous)?”

Today I’d like to have a conversation with that man. I’d ask if he still feels vindicated and proud of the president he helped elect. The president whose litany of “last straw” behavior seems so endless that 3-day-old news is a lifetime ago. And every day another transgression perpetuates our great country’s spiral toward an abysmal end. This is an uncharted story in which nuclear war and nazis are on the table. How could we see this coming?

It seems I’ve said almost daily “it can’t get worse than today.” But yesterday was worse. It is unquestionably worse than the child abuse masquerading as a boy-scout speech or the X-rated Access Hollywood tape or the off-handed “fire and fury” threat of nuclear war. That list is endless and so shocking the memories blur in my horror. But yesterday, he excused nazis and white supremacists, saying there are two sides.

He said those who stood bravely against hate, who stood stalwart for what’s right and who clamored for decency were also to blame for the violence. Was he blaming the dead woman for her own violent death? That is our president, showing us again who he is: twisted, vindictive, hateful, small, shameful. My little niece popped up again in my holiday story. Heather Heyer cannot. I mourn for Heather, killed from hate by an evil young man emboldened by the president. I mourn for your country.

We all should have seen this coming. Sadly, I think I did. I just didn’t want to believe it. Now, for those of us who believe in decency and know there is right and wrong, our only choice is to gather the strength to get up again and stand against this evil.

Silence is complicity.

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