The Silence of the Middle

The Christian Bible says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I believe that. I believe that allowing something to happen without saying anything is an action just as much as doing the action.

We are the middle. We are the ones that do not fall to either end of the political spectrum. We are the ones that have a mild distrust of politicians and pandering words. We are the ones that go to work every day. We live our lives and want to be left alone. We don’t carry signs, march in parades, or scream into microphones. We think that if we keep our heads down, nothing will happen to us. We tell ourselves that “it doesn’t affect me”. We ignore injustice. We are the guilty parties…

I know a couple living in Springfield MO. They have been married for 17, I think, years. In October of last year, the City Council passed an ordinance protecting their rights as citizens. This year, a difference of around a thousand voters in a special election took those rights away. We, the middle allowed that to happen. We sat silently by…

I’m a Texan. Here, we have a history of worrying about “me and mine” before all else. We tend, as citizens, to be independent and not wanting much government.I understand that. I fall well into that group. I have tended to believe that if something needs to be said, an individuals are capable of speaking for themselves. I had to face the fact that this is not always the case. Sometimes, we need to speak up for others. Sometimes we need to say “this is wrong”.

We don’t need to shout. We just need to join enough voices that our quiet tones drown out the extremes. We need to tell people that their little snarky remarks about “those people” aren’t acceptable. *editorial, I have good reason. I am a friend of Z. Calling her “those people” where I can hear it doesn’t sit well with me*

We need to remember this, too. It starts with “those people”. That’s not where it ends. We become, “done unto”. Once we stop defending the rights of all of our citizens, then we no longer deserve to be defended. Our apathy is our downfall. It isn’t our action. It’s our inaction. It’s our failure to say, “I object”. Honestly, we the silent middle do not deserve any better that what our actions have shown. We have allowed people to be treated like second-class citizens and diminished the value of our own rights.

I was one of the silent. I know exactly how easy it is. I know the feeling of security that comes from risking nothing by staying silent. No one will disapprove of your opinion if you don’t voice it. No one will judge your thoughts or disagree with your words. I had reason to change. I became aware that I was allowing a friend, a trusted and loved friend, to be treated with contempt by a society and a country that she had gone to war to serve. I realized that my inaction was really action. I changed the direction that my actions took by starting to write. I decided that Z deserved a voice for her that said “This is wrong”. She deserved a voice that said, “She’s not a ‘those people'”.

I AM NOT saying you have to write a blog. I AM NOT saying you have to write a blog. That was my way. I’m not saying that you have to carry a sign or march in a parade. What I am saying is that you need to do SOMETHING. When someone around you makes a comment about “those people” talk to them. When they try to repeal a law that protects the Rights of Citizens, vote against the repeal, about a thousand votes would have made a difference. Do something. It doesn’t have to be brash or loud. Our combined whispers will drown out the shouting. silence-poster

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