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I’ve changed this column numerous times over the past few days.
Why? Because words matter, and I wanted to convey a message this week that is hopeful, yet still has just the right amount of indignation to it. After all, this is a moment that requires some indignation.
Over the last few days, I have found myself stopping, staring, shaking my head, and getting upset at what I’ve seen. My friends, this is not a moment to scroll by. This is a moment to make your voice heard. I’m not just talking about the important issue of immigration. (I think we all know that immigration reform is needed, and I do believe that we can come to a conclusion that is both compassionate and respectful of our borders.) I’m talking about making your voice heard on all issues that we face today, and that we’ll continue to face in the days, weeks, and months to come.
This is not a moment to lose your mind and rant and rage. I don’t believe that ranting and raging works. What I do believe works is using our voices in a forceful, confident, and collective way. What works are voices that express just the right amount of outrage, just the right amount of shock, and just the right amount of care — as in, capital CARE.
This is not a moment to joke around because there is really nothing funny about what’s going on in our country today. There is nothing funny about what’s going on in our public discourse, our politics, or the media.
This is a moment for reflection. This is a moment to ask oneself, “What do I really care about?” and “Who are we at this moment in time?”
Well, when I step back, close my eyes and take a deep breath, I know who we are. We are a nation of people with hearts and souls. We are a nation of full-hearted people. We are a nation of immigrants. We are a nation that I truly believe can come together and find a way forward.
My brother Timothy says that there is a fight going on right now for the heart and soul of our country. I believe that to be true, too. This is a fight for our fundamental values. It’s a fight for our democracy. It’s a fight for who we are and what we stand for as a family. We are a family, after all, and strong families have strong values, morals, boundaries and responsibilities.
Sit with that. Let it sink in, because it’s true.
Each of us is going to have to decide what side of the battle we are on today. It’s not about what party we identify with. It’s about our values. It’s about what we care about.
Are we going to stand up and speak out? Or will we decide to stand down instead? It’s up to each of us.
Now is the moment to decide what we care about and what we are willing to fight for. We are going to have to step outside of our comfort zones, find our voices, and take a stand. We all are. Because the images we witnessed this week are just the beginning. There will inevitably be more images and stories that will make us uncomfortable — ones that will really pull at our hearts and disturb our minds. And believe me, they won’t be fake. They’ll be as real as it gets.
You. Me. Us. We all have to decide what we care about and what we stand for. Do we care about America’s standing in the world? Do we care about our neighbors and our allies? Do we care that Medicare and Medicaid are going to get slashed? Do we care that millions of our fellow citizens are working hard and still living paycheck to paycheck? Do we care about language, about civic discourse, and about bullying? This is all happening on our watch, and the list goes on…