I try to laugh a lot of this stuff off. I really do. During an average day, I sporadically shut down all political information outgoing and ingoing, all to keep my emotions balanced. Basically, so I don’t hurt quite so much.
This man, however, bruised my heart. I never saw his face, but I heard his voice. It was an unsteady sound, one with disappointment and pain. A voice speaking from the hurt of being ignored, pushed around, trampled on and bullied.
He came to speak. He came prepared. He had questions. And as a citizen of this country, he has the right to ask his government representative about his concerns. He pays for that right. He might have even fought for it.
Instead, like many attendees of these town hall meetings, he’s being vilified for his concern. It’s his life that’s on the line. His family’s lives. The very nature of his freedom that is being bantered around and tossed away with only a month’s notice.
And when you get down to it, what we’re talking about is his country. His proud nation. Maybe his chest pinches ever so slightly when he sees the crimson red of the flag in the morning light. Maybe his favorite movie is “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and like Jimmie Stewart’s character, his breath catches at the words “all men are created equal”. Perhaps he even sheds a tear during the National Anthem in his hometown ball games.
This man is me, really. He only wants to be heard, to be counted. He doesn’t want his life altered by a group of politicians who won’t remember him from one instant to the next. He wants to count. And in his country, his proud and robust America, his singular voice has always been honored.
Now, however, his words make him a mob. His congressman won’t take his questions. Even his President wants him silenced.
So his voice wavered. It lilted a little as he refused to be gagged and shuffled out the door. He is but one man, one voice, one soul who demanded his country remember him, like he’s remembering his country.
He’s an American. A free being. And if we lose him, if we can no longer value the individual voice, his voice, his emotion-rich voice, we’ll have lost it all.
I, like him, refuse to be silent…even if my voice trembles.