Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. She escaped from the bondage of slavery and, subsequently, returned to the south 13 times to lead over 70 enslaved family members and friends to freedom in the north using a network of safe houses called the Underground Railroad. Tubman famously remarked that she could have led 300 more to Freedom if they had only realized that they were slaves. The idea that anyone would choose slavery over freedom seems preposterous and yet, when we look out into the darkness and danger of the unknown it can be difficult to make the leap of faith and jump even if that leap takes you to a place you have never been before. Even when you know there is something called “Freedom”, but you have never experienced it, the difficulty of risking everything including your own life and/or the life of your loved one would take tremendous courage. Although Harriet Tubman never lost a single soul that she liberated from the bondage of slavery there were still those who would rather stay on the plantations of slavery and oppression than to risk their lives to be Free.
Today, we are stuck in a vortex of truth versus lies, of false narratives and alternative facts, of ethics and integrity versus expediency and the question of what is legal and what is not. The current erosion of our moral authority, decorum, decency and fair play have been complicated by the difficulty of discernment. The “politics of the moment” has created a tremendous amount of confusion and conflict in our nation and within the global community, and we now stand at the precipice of life and death choices. Perhaps it doesn’t “feel” like life and death is in the balance, but when we really take stock of where we are and where we are going as a nation, we begin to recognize that the times in which we are living have created some extreme circumstances for our collective democracy and by association our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The urgency of the times demands that “We the People” wake up before it is too late. America’s basic character, moral standing and national pride in who we are as a people and what we will and will not stand for as a nation are all eroding like a mudslide that is destabilizing the ground on which we stand.
When we are shown the truth, when the facts become clear, when time after time laws, systems, protocols are violated with impunity we cannot continue to pretend that our rule of law, our system of checks and balances, our decorum and integrity are NOT being undermined and ignored. It challenges the very notion of equality and justice under the law. If we really are who we say we are and if we really believe what we say we believe, how do we stand by and do nothing? No one is above the law is what we say. Really? No one? If the laws cannot be enforced because of fear of the unknown, or fear of the unintended consequences then we are willingly submitting ourselves to bondage. If we’d rather serve the master we know, however wrong, however oppressive and unjust they may be than to risk standing up to the LIE, we are doomed to remain chained to the certitude that we will never be Free. If our co-equal branches of government become a tainted political struggle for power instead of truth and justice then the “idea” of America is truly a lost cause.