I am a fairly outspoken person and have been most of my life. Over the years, I have been known to speak before I thought through what I said or with no real understanding of the consequences. I chalk that up to immaturity in some respects and the results -albeit sometimes negative – have been valuable life-lessons for me.
But I always find it interesting when I tell family or friends about a time I spoke out about an issue – either through the written word or by speaking with others – and they express concern that I did so. Not because I said anything inflammatory, or harmful, but just the fact that I spoke out at all.
For example, if many of the people I know, or maybe work with, have Democratic or liberal opinions, I have actually been questioned on whether it’s wise for me to speak in public forums about my Republican or conservative opinions, in any context. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Speaking about what we believe in is fundamentally American. It is what makes us different than other countries. I don’t understand the mindset that says that it’s better to be quiet then to speak about your beliefs.
I understand that with any action there are consequences. You can lose a job for speaking your mind. You could be ostracized in some manner or another. That’s where the maturity comes in.
For example, if I worked for an insurance company and felt strongly that insurance is too overpriced and a government option is the only solution, I run the risk of losing my job in speaking out about that belief. However, here’s a question for you…if you feel that way, why do you work for the insurance company to begin with? Maybe an alternative career is in order?
You do have to determine when the right time to speak up is. But if we are all to be silent about any issue that we feel strongly about simply because of the idea that you may bring attention to yourself, what really is the point in this country being what it is?
I truly feel that we are in the mess we are in, in this country, because too many people have kept silent. And when I say mess, I am not specifically referring to the Obama Presidency (although there is argument for that being called a “mess”). No, I’m referring to the fact that we have a group of Senators and Representatives – on both sides of the aisle – that simply no longer believe they work for us and that too many of us have simply decided to be quiet. In fact they count on our silence and our tendency to keep the status quo by voting them into office again and again.
I think that’s why the Democratic Senators and Representatives have been so shocked in the last few weeks at these town hall meetings. People seem to have come out of the hypnotic haze that we have been in for so long that told us, “Shh, be quiet…don’t rock the boat” and are telling them that we don’t want what they are trying to give us. I for one am glad to see this awakening.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s the First Amendment for a reason. It is the most important part of what makes us Americans. We need to be involved in the process. We need to stop standing back; afraid of the repercussions of speaking our minds and let our representatives know what we want. And this has to happen on both sides. We may be conservatives and we may be liberals, but we are ALL Americans and we can find the right solution for any problem if we simply work together.
Speak up people. America is listening.
NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 8/31/2009.