View Points by Dr. T
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
The basic definition of complicity is the willing involvement in wrongdoing. Silence does not save you or excuse you from responsibility. Perhaps what silence does do, sales however, is to expose a lack of character and lack of personal conviction; it lays bare what must be called a fundamental deprivation of courage and/or integrity. The question must be asked: If compromise is the key to healthy politics, then how does one respond when compromise descends into complicity? What happens when our leaders are so afraid of the “political costs” of standing up for something or of summoning the personal courage to definitively confront clear echoes of fascism and the vitriolic rhetoric of division that they ignore it or insist that there is nothing to be concerned about? The current political season has given rise to the type of racial scapegoating and bombast that has normalized the fears and ignorance that are supposed to have belonged to another time in our history and do not resemble what America stands for; the founding principles this nation strives to perfect as we move towards and continue to strive for equal rights, equal justice and liberty for all?
In order for each of us to preserve a sense of personal and moral accountability we must define our boundaries and set the parameters of our moral compass. An unquestioned integrity cannot be subject to “situational ethics” or ever-changing rules of engagement that allow us to step out when the choice that must be made is too difficult or comes at too high of a cost for us personally. In order for integrity to stand intact and those boundaries and ethics to have meaning we must have the courage to protect them, even when the cost is high. It seems that in recent months those that we look to for leadership in this country within our political/social institutions have lost their way. There has been discourse in the public arena that has seriously challenged fundamental tenets of the American Constitution. There has been rhetoric that takes us back to the type of racial fear mongering, nationalist separatism and xenophobic hate speech that we haven’t seen since back in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Political discourse has devolved into the gutter of “dog whistle politics” complete with name calling, misogyny and school yard bullying the likes of which many have never seen before. All this because of the silent complicity of an elected leadership who are willing to go along to get along, instead of growing a backbone in order to STAND UP for what is right instead of silently complying with what most people can see as wrong. A man who uses language in the public arena that is utterly gross, nationally embarrassing and patently false. Shame, shame on all of you who have sat silently by and allowed the absolute destruction of the legitimate Republican Party and what has always been known as true conservatism.
When people don’t see, pretend that they don’t see or worse, that they don’t care; it then becomes an existential threat to our independent republic. All people whether liberal or conservative, moderate or independent should have a moral imperative to repudiate hate and division even if that repudiation comes at personal cost. You have a responsibility as a citizen and a patriot; otherwise your silence may be detrimental to your integrity, your nation and ultimately your freedom.