“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have lost friends over my strong opposition to Donald Trump. It is painful. Feels like a part of me is missing. Some are openly critical, but mostly they just avoid me. Whether their absence is permanent or temporary remains to be seen. I pray it is temporary.
It seems like it would be so easy to just avoid stating my strong political views. That is what a large percentage of people I know seem to do. I would get a lot more likes on Facebook and be a lot more popular. So why not just keep my political opinions to myself and be one of those people everybody loves? I guess some of us just aren’t geared to keeping our mouths shut. Speaking up seems as vital to us as breathing.
I do my Buddhist best not to hate Trump. But I do hate the things he is doing. For example, now he has switched from calling coronavirus by its proper name — COVID-19 — and is referring to it as the “Chinese virus.” Every time he does this another Asian-American seems to be attacked — either physically or verbally. I saw an interview with a young woman who was viciously verbally attacked while riding the subway. She was born and raised in America — as American as any of us, but she was of Chinese ancestry and had the look, so she had to endure the Trump-generated vitriol.
I have a good friend who claims, “If you support a racist, then you are a racist.” But I have Trump supporter friends who I definitely don’t believe are racists. That said, I think it’s obvious that if you support a racist you are at least enabling a racist, and Trump, unfortunately, has many enablers who are otherwise good people.
Of course, Trump’s Chinese smear campaign is not his first. His dog whistles have targeted Muslims and other minorities from the beginning. Is the dramatic rise in hate crimes since his inauguration a coincidence? It would defy all evidence and logic to think so.
The viral racism spewing from the president is reason enough to oppose him and speak out, but there are numerous others. Those of us who believe a healthy civilization requires a healthy planet have been appalled at the environmental destruction brought about by Trump’s administration. The EPA has been ravaged, scientists have been forbidden to speak and environmental protections has done away with, including doing away with the law that prohibited mine waste from being dumped into streams. Some national monuments have been drastically reduced in size and the foxes of fossil fuel have been put in charge of guarding the planetary chicken house.
Our telescopes have allowed us to look far into space and we’ve seen countless never before known planets, but we’ve yet discovered one that is life-supporting like our precious Mother Earth. Those of us who love her, mourn the careless disregard and endless destruction being wrought by the Trump team of pillagers.
And so there are those of us who must speak out or be cursed by our own consciences. Those are our only choices. And if friendships and family must take a backseat for the moment, I suppose that is, sadly, how it must be as we strive for brighter days.
“This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.”