Martin Luther King talks somewhere about what he calls the “appalling silence of good people.” In a time where Donald Trump is seen as a reasonable choice the silence of good people is the greatest threat there is to the security and welfare of this country. In a Tennessee which defines health care for poor people as a political inconvenience the silence of good people is tragic. We need to be careful what we accept as common sense lest it leave us unable to see clearly what really matters.
I think we need to speak to the silence of good people. Sometimes people think it doesn’t really matter what they say or do. The issue, they think is settled, or that their voice carries no weight or effect. The voice of good people always matter. Too often questions are closed by the way we frame them and people saying there is a right thing and that right things matter and that any approach that doesn’t realize that is not ultimately realistic despite all its pretensions to the contrary make a difference each and every time they speak.
If we reduce things to “practicality” or “convenience” the powerful always win. If politics is only about how politicians win where does that leave us? If vision and purpose and courage are left out of the equation where does that leave us? Is that not what has brought us to our current situation in which the word politician has become the longest four letter word in our language?
My advice to people who care about health care in Tennessee is simple. Speak to the good people and encourage and prod and if need be beg them to share their voice and their heart. Courage I believe in the end may be the only resource that matters. Tell them to speak for a system that allows their voice to be part of the deciding and not simply all things decided for them. Tell them to speak not for a system that never runs out of excuses not to care but for one that understands there is always reason to care if we only have the vision and the will and the moral integrity to do so.
Silence kills. The silence of good people kills democracy and leaves justice and a fair chance at a better life nothing but a cheap slogan to be manipulated by people who in the end only care about their position and power.
Speak. Your voice, my voice, and the accumulated voices of all those can help build a momentum, help create a storm that eventually leaves nothing else heard.