The current state of affairs, when looked at through the prism of any of our Facebook newsfeeds, is pretty bleak. The election results were unexpected from both sides, and the fallout has been a serious backlash that we have been watching play out in the streets and online.
The Washington Post recently reported on a Muslim Schoolteacher in Georgia who received an anonymous note in her own classroom. This note stated that her “headscarf isn’t allowed anymore.” and ended by saying she should “hang yourself with it.”
The Chicago Tribune has also reported on the hostile environment facing the other side of this equation as well. A youtube video showed a 49 year old man being attacked and his car stolen while bystanders shouted that he deserves the beating for supporting Trump. Regardless of what may have prompted the incident, what it devolved into was unacceptable.
There Needs to Be Change for Good
These incidents have made me hang my head in shame.
It’s hard to accept that there are fellow Americans out there who view the world in such a hostile way. It hurts to see people who are making a religious or political choice in America be persecuted for their personal decisions. This isn’t who we are, this isn’t what we stand for. We are better than this America.
I know that the vast majority of us don’t have anything to do with any of these attacks on the social and political fabric of this great nation, but we owe it to each other and our country to condemn them immediately and harshly, regardless of political views. The truth is, silence speaks volumes.
If you are a Trump supporter who smugly smiled in private upon reading the story of the schoolteacher, you are wrong. If you hate Trump, and seeing this poor helpless man be beaten made you feel good inside, you need to evaluate who you are as a person and what you stand for morally.
The foundation of this country is based on free expression of beliefs. Religion and politics are about the deepest and most personal beliefs that we as human beings hold dear. George Orwell Remarked in his essay Freedom of the Park
“If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”
It doesn’t matter what you personally feel about someone’s decisions or belief systems. The 1st amendment of the constitution, the founding document we have all agreed should govern our lives, and protect our freedoms has spoken…
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
If you consider yourself an American, a Patriot, a defender of what has made this country unique and the envy of the world for generations, you will fight to uphold each element of our founding documents. You will fight to create an environment where freedom of expression is never questioned. Where your rights are not in danger of being taken from you, nor are they in danger of being taken from others. That is the founding ideal that the rest of this great experiment was built on. We must do everything in our power to stay true to that.
What Can I Do?
If you catch yourself contributing to the negativity, the attacking of someone for their belief systems, such as attempts at silencing opposing voices for the sake of “winning” an argument, take a step back and decide if that is who you want to be and if this is the country you want to live in. Chances are it still is.
America is the most diverse and free place in the world. We provide economic opportunity, freedom of speech, religion, political affiliation, freedom from unlawful searches and freedom from oppressions that millions live under daily. Start appreciating the differences, start looking for ways to understand each other, and always stand up against any injustice you see.
The next time it happens you could be the target, and knowing millions of Americans will jump to your defense is a satisfying feeling. Let’s create the country we want to live in.
You can also share this with you friends. Show that you stand for the core beliefs of America.