Living here in the US, I was pretty pleased when it was loudly proclaimed that we were now a “post-racial” society after President Obama’s election in 2008. I had my doubts, but I was willing to keep quiet about them. Turns out that was probably a mistake.
Over the last few years, and especially the last few weeks, I’ve seen this country become a place where it’s’ not just acceptable for bigots to express their opinions, loudly and constantly, but de riguer. Whether it’s racism, homophobia or sexism, we’ve become a nation of loud, foul-mouthed Archie Bunkers. Willful, stupid blindness to the problems around us seems to have become the norm. I believe part of it stems from the cuts to education we’ve suffered in the last 10-15 years, but there’s more to it. There seems to be an attitude of instant gratification in our society that extends beyond the desire for “stuff.” We have completely lost all connection to the earth and those around us, and believe it’s not just our right, but our duty to say whatever hateful things pop into our heads. The backlash against political correctness (what we used to call being polite) in the 90’s has come full circle with a vengeance. If one side says it’s not acceptable to bully kids, a view with which I completely agree, another group comes along and says that not allowing bullying somehow infringes on their religious freedom. Yes, it’s “called the White House for a reason,” but not because it should only be occupied by an old, white man.
I’m sorry, but I can’t keep quiet anymore. I accept that some of this may be my fault for not speaking up sooner. Starting now, though, I will speak up. I’ll speak up when my friends say something racist. I’ll speak up when politicians or other “leaders” support homophobia either explicitly or implicitly. I’ll speak up when women are denigrated or their lower position in society is taken for granted. I will speak up when kids feel the only option to the bullying is death. I will no longer remain silent.
Enough is enough.