EDITORIAL: Does Silence Mean Complicity?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to interpret the resounding silence of the American people. Actions by the president, coupled with inaction by the people for whom he serves, are threatening our democracy and weakening our civil and human rights.

We join the media across the globe who are mystified by the underwhelming response to President Trump’s attacks on the press made as recently as last week at the G-20 Summit where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly shared their disdain for the media. We don’t disagree with critics of the media who are wary of the biased reporting permeating places beyond the opinion pages but we stand by the democratic principle of the First Amendment which safeguards a free and open press. And we sympathize with the media organizations, and the families of the growing number of journalists assaulted, imprisoned, or killed in the line of duty while public outcry has grown silent.

What has silenced communities across this country who are living with the impact of global warming but refuse to challenge Trump on his decision to separate the U.S. from the Paris Accord and his decision not to support the climate change goals agreed upon by the remaining 19 members of the G-20 countries? Victims of California wildfires, middle and southern region states devastated by tornadoes and floods, and other states, including Flint, Michigan, that don’t have clean and safe drinking water surely wonder, where is the outcry?

D.C., along with its neighbors in Prince George’s County, is a sanctuary city but three local undocumented immigrants were still picked up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers last weekend and are facing deportation. Is this what citizens will have to contend with for not supporting Trump’s border wall?

Have we become immune to the violence against Black men and boys at the hands of the police and others? Has our frustration over educational inequity moved to the point of acceptance and complacency? Are we sick and tired but not enough to get better? Where is the outcry?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” also noting, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

We are seeing things happen that matter, but our silence is deafening. All people, but especially Black people, cannot afford to be silent any longer.

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