If Not Us, Then Who?

mariaS12.14 Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper
"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth."
—Henry David Thoreau

I've Been Thinking...

Who knew what, and when?

That’s the question swirling around Capitol Hill in regards to the January 6 insurrection. In a court of law on Thursday, former President Trump lost again trying to claim presidential privilege when it came to his actions on that fateful day. The judge ruled that, as it turns out, it actually is in the public interest to know who knew what, and when.

That’s good for all of us. It’s good for our country to know who is trying to undermine it, as well as who is trying to protect it. On Monday, the January 6 committee will decide whether or not to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt. I hope they do. He is in contempt, and he should be called out for exactly that.

The anniversary of January 6 is less than one month away, and what an anniversary it will be if we actually wake up to what that day was and is all about. It’s about who we are. It’s about our elections. It’s about our democracy. It’s about what we cherish, what people have fought for and given their lives for. It’s also ultimately about who we want to be moving forward.

 This week, President Biden spoke about the state of our democracy, and it wasn’t pretty. He said protecting our democracy is the defining challenge of our time. A democracy is fragile, and the state of ours is just that. That’s why it’s important to know who was or is trying to undermine it on our watch, as well as who is sounding the alarm and trying to protect it.

Protecting the fabric of our country should not be a partisan issue. It can’t be if we are to survive as a people and as a country. It must be the defining issue for all of us. The question in front of us is, "How do we make it so?" I know people are distracted and becoming numb to the news of the day. Protecting our democracy may not seem to be the No. 1 topic of conversation. But Biden said this: “This is an urgent matter.” He said the data is pointing in the wrong direction. He said that democracy needs champions both around the world and here at home.

That, my friends, means each of us has got to decide whether we are a champion of democracy or not. Are we going to be numb to extremism on either side? Are we going to stay silent as our voting rights are under attack? Are we going to stand by and let the January 6 anniversary come and go without batting an eye?

January 6 is less than a month away. I know people are busy and distracted, and that the last thing they want to do is try and wrap their minds around what they can do to save our democracy during this holiday season. I get it. But if not us, then who?

Don’t we all benefit from living in a democracy? Would you prefer not to live in one? Not me. I’m clear about that. I’m also clear that I can’t think that I can just sit around and be a bystander. 

You may be asking yourself, "But what can I as one person do?" Well, this organization lays it out for you. You can also talk about democracy at your kitchen table or Christmas dinner table. You can commit to voting locally and statewide. You can hold space for those who don’t believe our democracy is under threat and try to help them unpack their views. You can calmly explain the truth and the facts. You can be an active listener and help explain the importance of this moment. You can make a concerted commitment to supporting news organizations that are fair and down the middle. News flash: There are many hard at work doing this exact thing.

I know this may seem hard, but you can do it. So, champions of democracy, suit up. Read up. Get informed—because it matters. So does being vigilant. Call out those who seek to undermine our democracy. Call out those who refuse to get to the bottom of who knew what when, and those who are trying to undermine who we are today. 

There are many stories needing your attention this holiday season. Families across our country are reeling from catastrophic tornadoes and devastating loss this week. Many others are now spending the holidays without loved ones because of senseless acts of violence. Equally as urgent is the story of democracy. It’s one for the history books.

What are you willing to do to save the country that has given you the rights and the gifts that only a democracy can bestow? We each need to think about that before it’s too late. 

Love,
Maria

PRAYER OF THE WEEK


Dear God, please don’t let fear or timidness stop me from speaking up for something I believe in. May I remember that my voice matters, and it may be needed now more than ever. Amen.

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