Risk An Argument, Not Your Life

I've read the posts about people being sick of "all the political commentary on Facebook." And the ones where people say ”a post about a candidate won’t change anyone’s mind” - implying there’s no point in stirring things up.

I've listened to some complain about their longtime friends bashing Hillary but don't post a response because they "don't want to get into it" and “I’m not an activist like you.” I've heard others talk about relatives trying to justify a possible vote for Trump yet stayed silent because they "respect their elders" and "just didn't want to start something."

All this "it's not worth it" talk makes me nostalgic for the days when I sincerely wondered how an entire country could be swept into supporting Adolf Hitler. Because now I know.

I’ll admit I rolled my eyes when people first started comparing Trump to Hitler. I’m not naive, I just thought it was too easy of a comparison, too lazy of a leap. But listening to him - and especially his supporters - over the past several months has convinced me that fear can turn the American dream into a nightmare.

So if there's even a 1% chance that a Facebook post or a difficult conversation with a relative or a gentle-yet-direct comment to a stranger in the checkout line might result in their thinking about things a little differently, then I'm going to write and post and talk. The Holocaust could've been prevented but at every step along the path that wound its way to the eventual death camps, people who didn't agree with Hitler's views chose to not "waste their breath," or "make someone uncomfortable," or risk "starting an argument." Until it was too late, and, to paraphrase Audre Lourde, their silence could not protect them.

As Congressman John Lewis, who has spent his life standing up and getting knocked down and standing up again for justice, exhorts, "Get in the way." Don't make it easy for people to do the wrong thing. Don't allow them for a moment to assume you might possibly agree. And please, don't think "it can't happen here:" that's exactly how ”it” takes root and flourishes.

Be brave now: don't wait until showing courage could cost you your life.

P.S. If you need a motivational soundtrack, turn up Sara Bareilles’ Brave : “Innocence, your history of silence / Won’t do you any good / Did you think it would? / Let your words be anything but empty / Why don’t you tell them the truth? / Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

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