There is a stunning, almost Dali-esque dream sequence in Gilmore Girls in which Lorelai, after finding Luke wants some time to think about their relationship, finds him in the Black, White, and Read Movie Theater. There, the two watch a scene from their past, sitting at her kitchen table, Luke telling her he is "all in."
Lorelai just sits there, staring eerily into space.
The dream version of herself watching this movie version says, "Say something," then, more forcefully, "Say something!"
There's more to it (that blue ribbon…gives me the chills every time), but that's the basic story, and I often think of that scene whenever I witness a situation in which people stay silent even when silence is dangerous.
I have written recently about how important it is that we think before we speak and that we don't litter the world with an endless stream of thoughts, words, and opinions. So often, we allow ourselves to default to reactionary behavior that ultimately doesn't help anyone or anything. We argue endlessly on social media, for instance, forgetting that our personal accounts are not actually public platforms, and that posting and sharing isn't a substitute for our civic duty as citizens of arguably the most vibrant, powerful democracy in the world.
However it's also important our intentional communication includes speaking out against what threatens our country, our lives, and, ultimately, the state of the world. We need to communicate this not just to the people who make and protect our laws, but to those in our immediate vicinity. Our children need to see us lay down a firm boundary.
::It is not okay to persecute (in any way, even subtle ones) a whole group of people just because of their religion.
::It is not okay to hold the highest office in the nation and to use that position to spread blatant lies, generate suspicion of the media, and promote family businesses.
::It is not okay to silence a woman (two women, if you think about it) on the senate floor, based the selective enforcement of an obscure rule that doesn't appear to apply to male senators. That is absolutely NOT OKAY.
::It is not okay that the leader of the free world has publicly made incredibly sexist and misogynistic comments about women on multiple occasions and has never addressed that or apologized.
I find myself perplexed these days, watching very carefully what is and is not being said. I see a lot of backlash from the left, predictably, on social media, in the news, and even in my everyday observations out in the world.
Yet there is silence in places I didn't expect to find it. An almost deafening silence. I'm not sure where those voices are or why they are remaining silent.
So yes, we need to be careful with what we say, intentional, responsible, and compassionate. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't say anything, at all. Now, like never before, we need to speak.