I get that. Really, I do.
I pick the quotes I pick for my own set of reasons, most of which totally depend on the place I'm at mentally on any given day.
The quote I am choosing today is one chosen for a fairly obvious reason. It's Martin Luther King, Jr. day. It only makes sense to focus on the wisdom of his words today.
I've done so in the past, choosing my personal favorite of his quotes the last time I wrote in this series. You can find that post here, where I discuss the following quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Today, I'll choose another. There are so many.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
I've been thinking about this quote a lot lately, for a few reasons. On SNL this weekend, they did a skit about MLK and what he'd think about activism and protest, about his legacy and the progress we've made. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is.
Comedy has a way of telling so many truths.
I wonder what he'd think if he was here to see our society today. I can't help but think he'd be disappointed.
Anyhow, on to this particular quote.
His words sting a bit because they hold so much truth in them, truths that have been revealed many times in the recent past.
This quote is one that captures so many of my personal motivations in life, why I do what I do, especially with this particular platform. I talk about the things that other people would often prefer I didn't. I discuss topics that many would rather ignore. I shine the light on the ugly truths. I point out injustices, urge people to see things from a different perspective than their own. Even when it's wildly unpopular. Even when my doing so carries consequences.
I do it because silence is dangerous.
Silence is dangerous because of how powerful it is.
If we stop standing up for what we believe is right and fair and true in this world, if we allow our voices to be silenced, if we stop advocating because it's too hard or will invite criticism or whatever our reasons are...who will then do it?
Having opinions and expressing them publicly opens people up to attacks and criticism, for sure. There are times that I really do struggle with pressing that publish button, but I almost always do it because I feel like I have to, like I am morally compelled to do it.
In this current environment, one where those on the fringes attack anyone who disagrees, we need to remember that fairness and justice generally lie somewhere in the middle.
The voice of reason cannot be heard if it never speaks.