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The Crisis

This month the Legal Pad will be hosting a guest writer, SWBLSA Historian Kennedy Jones.

What stands before us all on November 6, 2018, is the opportunity for an unprecedented triumph. Our neighborhoods, cities, states – our nation as a whole – sits at the brink of a monumental precipice. One of two possible outcomes will be the result of our fast approaching election. Either we, as a nation, will rise to the occasion and choose progress, or we will shrink from the service of our country and make way for tyranny to run rampant in our society.

Make no misconception, my friends, we are in the midst of a Crisis.

Our federal government is headed by an ill-equipped, ill-tempered, egomaniacal, xenophobic, sexist, racial bigot. The Supreme Court is occupied by two men who have been accused of sexual misconduct, and has a majority that may one day see fit to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, or prevent sexual minorities from marrying. Our sham of a legislative branch is more concerned with lining their individual war chests with lobbying dollars from special interest groups and furthering their own personal agendas, than fulfilling the wants and needs of those whom they were elected to represent.

Make no misconception, my friends, we are in the midst of a Crisis.

Our state and local governments are just as inept and out of touch, if not more. Public education systems nation-wide are failing at an alarming rate, yet charter and private school systems continue to flourish. Teachers and other public servants are understaffed, underpaid, and overworked. Our public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure is mediocre. Healthcare is only affordable for those who are rich enough to afford it, and often unattainable to those who need it most. Make no misconception, my friends, we are in the midst of a Crisis.

Young unarmed black men and women, boys and girls, are being gunned down in the streets. While their loved ones grieve, and cry out for justice, their killers go on a paid administrative leave until investigations, conducted by their own, eventually clear them of any wrong doing. Children brought here for the opportunity of a better life and pursuit of the “American Dream” are being forcefully separated from their parents at our borders. Our elected officials find it imperative to earmark hundreds of millions of dollars to build a wall, but they have yet to find the funds to rectify the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Make no misconception, my friends, we are in the midst of a Crisis.

The decisions that we make, or refuse to make, on November 6, 2018, will send reverberations through the very fabric of our society for generations. Our descendants will look back on that day either with pride for our strength and resiliency in fight against this tyranny, or they will look back with disgust for how we shrank from service in this pivotal moment. When your children and grandchildren ask if you fought to make circumstances better, or stood by and watched while those who seek to oppress us all were given more power, what will you say? Better yet, what lie will you tell yourself to deal with the regret of knowing that your inaction has led to the further suffering of so many? Will you lie to yourself and say that your vote does not matter? Will you blame your inaction on the belief that the system is rigged and no matter what there is nothing you can do to change it? Whatever excuse you may choose, it will not give the people of Flint clean water. Your lie will not reunite those young children at the border with their parents or secure the right to marry for all. It will not end mass incarceration or provide universal healthcare. No, your lie to cover your inaction cannot do any of those things, but your vote can do all of this, and more.

There is power in our vote. Our vote is the weapon that we use to fight oppression and the tool that we use to pave a better way forward for those who will follow us. We have an obligation to use our vote to create a better tomorrow, in the same way that our predecessors fought for a better today. Not exercising your right to vote is not only an injustice to your descendants, but it is also an affront to the many who fought, and died, in continued pursuit of equality for all.

Make no misconception, my friends, we are in the midst of a Crisis that will have a lasting impact on us all. It is our responsibility as patriots to stand in service and assure that this impact is a positive one, propelling as forward instead of sending us on a spiraling dissent into oppression.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this Crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands but it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph…”

- The Crisis

Thomas Paine

December 23, 1776

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