It takes an act of courage to speak out

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum -

Bravo to the ed­i­tor and staff of The Calvert Recorder for hav­ing the courage to clearly ar­tic­u­late what many of us are feel­ing to­day [“De­bat­ing stat­ues, con­demn­ing hate,” Aug. 30].

I never thought I’d have to speak those words in the United States of Amer­ica in 2017.

How­ever, it has be­come clear in the last sev­eral weeks that it takes an act of courage to speak out against the words and poli­cies of our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.

There will be many who take um­brage with this edi­to­rial — as they will con­tinue to de­fend this pres­i­dent, re­gard­less of how many times he has shown us who he is. They were fine with his mock­ing of a dis­abled re­porter, den­i­grat­ing en­tire groups of peo­ple (Mex­i­cans, Mus­lims, women) and bit­terly at­tack­ing any­one who has a dif­fer­ing opin­ion. Quite frankly, I’ve seen the lat­ter be­hav­ior from a few of our lo­cal politi­cians.

As some­one who has lived through the Jim Crow era, I clearly re­mem­ber be­ing fright­ened by “Wel­come to Klan Coun­try” bill­boards in North Carolina, see­ing “white” or “col­ored” signs at wa­ter foun­tains and re- strooms and, worst of all, hear­ing of the lynch­ing of African-Amer­i­can men and the bomb­ing of an African-Amer­i­can church in the 1960s.

Peo­ple fought and lost their lives in or­der to win rights that should have been ap­pli­ca­ble to all U.S. cit­i­zens long be­fore the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Civil Rights Act. Brave men and women also lost their lives de­feat­ing the Nazis in World War II. We can­not af­ford to go back. We can­not. This na­tion was built on the strengths of our in­di­vid­u­als — re­gard­less of race, re­li­gion, gen­der or eth­nic­ity. To­gether we are un­beat­able.

There must be no am­bi­gu­ity on this is­sue. None. It should be crys­tal clear to all of us that neo-Nazis, white su­prem­a­cists and the KKK are not wel­come in the United States. On that, we should all agree. As the edi­to­rial stated, “Con­demn­ing hate groups … is the eas­i­est thing to do.”

Since it is un­con­sti­tu­tional to out­law th­ese groups, it is im­per­a­tive that we all em­ploy our bet­ter an­gels to stand up and speak out against them and all they rep­re­sent — re­gard­less of what our politi­cians say.

Chris Cum­mings, Dow­ell

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