To Speak or Not to Speak?

Unfortunately, as this presidency slogs onward , uncomfortable moments seem to increase everywhere we go.

Regardless of your political views–there is no avoiding the eventual opinions that pop up –pro and con-at ANY gathering.,

Out to dinner with six friends last week, the conversation started with comments about mutual acquaintances , movies we had seen and felt duty bound to review, and chatter about too much fried batter on the fish ‘n chips, (though I found it just fine.)

But toward dessert,there was a sharp turn to the right. Literally. One of the six made a clearly racist remark and attributed justification for it to her political party that, she claimed, “…understands how I feel and agrees with me.”

Her mate kept eating with no apparent surprise. Two others blanched, and sputtered arguments in an effort to show her remarks were, at the very least, unAmrican.

I felt the usual dilemma because I have been determined not to allow the bewildering political scene undermine longtime friendships. At such moments I usually cut in and ask that we all remember our treasured long-time friendships and refrain from political talk in such “mixed” company.

But this was different. It wasn’t just someone proclaiming good or bad traits of a political figure or law. This was an undeserved, mean, (actually cruel), biased, unsubstantiated (actually false), remark about an entire race. I had to ask myself where this would stop if people who believe in equality and truth let such malicious lies go unchallenged.

I said as much to the dinner crowd and faced silence in return.

Unfortunately, we are in a situation where, for the first time, we can actually lose friendships over differing views. But I contend this wasn’t really political.

Everyone has the right to chose a party, support it, and vote for its candidates. We also have an obligation to speak up about such candidates qualities and defend them when necessary.

But racism is outside the bounds. No American party should support it, and all of us should feel obligated to shout out against it whenever we hear such destructive remarks.

I know many widows try to be agreeable and keep the peace whenever possible in order to keep our dwindling supply of friends. But we can’t afford to do that in these cases.

Speak up when you hear despicable racist talk. Our democracy, and that of our children, depends upon it.
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