It’s Not Okay To
 Be Silent Anymore

dj pierce

November 30, 2016

Silver linings.

That’s been the subject of my thoughts recently. I’ve been contemplating the ways recent events in the United States have effected positive change, and thankfully I’ve found some.

Yesterday I saw another.

I was walking through Natick, Massachusetts when I heard the revving of an engine. I turned to see a Jeep full of high school kids pulling up next to an old lady in a Cadillac. One boy had his head out the window and was staring at the woman, trying to get her attention.

“Pull up! I’m gonna stare her down!” He told the driver.

The woman kept her hands gripped tightly to the wheel with her eyes forward. I had no idea why this was happening, but it was no more than twenty feet in front of me. I hesitated for a moment, then shouted “Hey! What’s wrong with you?!?”

The kid pulled his head back inside the car and the old lady drove away.

I realized that in the past I may not have done anything, but this isn’t then. This is now. This is a time when the old is bumping up against the new. Ignorance is at war with tolerance, and sickness that has been dormant in culture for so long is finally showing symptoms.

As my adrenaline levels returned to normal, I was left with a simple thought.

It’s not okay to be silent anymore.

It’s not okay to watch people spread hate and stand by because you don’t want to rock the boat.

I’m reminded of doctors who feel a moral obligation to act in situations where they are needed. Not because they are legally bound, but because they are uniquely suited to do so. I think we can all agree that if we were in a situation that called for our unique skill set we would help as well — which has me look at myself.

I’m not a doctor, but I am capable of using my voice, maybe more so than most. In fact, one could argue it’s one of my unique skills. I speak with conviction, I’m not prone to violence and I can take charge of a situation if needed.

I’m a white, adult man, which means in most situations I’ll be given the benefit of the doubt and I’m a relatively large human (5’10” 190 lbs) and have a background as a military officer, so if physical presence or leadership is needed I have the ability to provide that as well.

Given who I am and what I’ve done, wouldn’t it make sense that I also have a moral obligation to help?

Right now I’m sitting in Starbucks, and in this room of twenty people I wonder how many of them would speak up if something happened and someone was being threatened? How many would be willing to break up a fight? To confront a bully? How many would take decisive action, knowing they have no moral or legal obligation to do so?

Maybe only a few, if any.

What if I took that upon myself to be the one who acts? What if like doctors, I recognized that I have a unique ability, and my ability is to stand up and speak loudly, to de-escalate situations and say what needs to be said.

I feel the truth of this as a write it.
So it is.

Today I make a pledge to myself. As an outspoken, consciously-minded person I promise to do what I can, where I can, when I can, to stand up for others, especially when it’s easier for me to stand up for them, than for them to stand up for themselves.

We live in a world that needs leaders, maybe now more than ever, and the silence of good people has caused enough suffering.

It’s not okay to be silent anymore.
And maybe — it never was.


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