Guilty By Association – Yes, Sometimes

I am a strong believer in free speech and free assembly.  I wouldn’t stop even the KKK from assembling or speaking, except for literal messages of hate and then they should be denied those rights.  If necessary, they can take it to the courts.  White supremacists can talk about white people associating only with their own “race,” but they cannot talk about the inferiority of “other races” or endorse (or encourage) violence or discrimination against those groups or individuals.  Tolerance runs both ways.

President Trump has empowered racists, bigots, sexists, and the ignorant.  They feel safe directing their prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism outward.  Hate and violent actions are somehow “okay” if approved by a higher authority.  They are NOT and that is NOT open to interpretation.  It becomes a vicious circle and it accelerates, much as anti-Semitism did in Nazi Germany.  A lot of good people stayed silent and a lot of bad people used that silence to do evil.

When President Trump is silent about the bombing of mosques, purges government scientists who disagree with him, declares war on whistle blowers and reporters and suggest police be “less careful”; that is tacit permission for all the other ideologues to do as they please.  Someone needs to deny that permission and someone includes every individual man, woman and child.

Individual commitments sometimes require associating with people we disagree with or deplore, but we can make that clear and we can make different choices with our money, our time and our voices.  We can refuse to be silent.  Otherwise, we really are guilty by association.