Breaking Silence

quote-hope-and-fear-cannot-occupy-the-same-space-invite-one-to-stay-maya-angelou-76-81-50Views from the Edge (VFTE) has fallen silent lately. Maybe you have too. The reasons for silence are like the hairs on our heads. Who can count them? The silence on Views from the Edge is both unintentional and intentional.

Unintentional Silence

Finishing a novel requires full concentration to the storyline and every detail. Fiction is like that. It creates the alternative universe that exists only in the writer’s head.

Intentional Silence

The real world has left me speechless. There is nothing that has not been said. Some of it bears repeating, but I feel no motivation to add to the silos into which our public discourse has fallen. Observing a world of madness much stranger than fiction has left my spirit bone-tired.

Why speak now?

I feel a need to stay in touch, to say hello to readers of Views from the Edge. So, “Hi!” You need no reminder of “the edge” from which we view the world. If you’re new here, a quick look through the site will tell you who we are and why we publish.

Today I break the silence to speak again from my experience. My memory is long. A child of World War II, I am aghast at what I see today at the center of American life. I can’t believe my eyes. In Germany in the late 1930s, the Third Reich displaced a democratic republic (the Weimar Republic) by systematically eroding trust in democratic process. Facts became falsehoods. Alternative facts replaced truth. The far right replaced the conservative right, painted the left as evil, and shrunk the middle ground essential to sustaining a democratic republic. Braggadocio and nationalism replaced humility and statesmanship, destroyed the lengthier policy discussions essential to democracy, and frayed the threads of civility that held the German people together. A loud far-right minority who had mastered the craft of theater bullied its way into the seats of power, promising to make Germany great again with boisterous appeals to national exceptionalism and Aryan racial exceptionalism, a fictional creation with no basis in reality. Those who disagreed or whose very existence threatened the national and racial exceptionalism were dismissed, painted as less than human, and sent quietly away the night in freight cars without public attention.

I was raised to belief such a thing could not happen in America. I now wonder whether I was wrong. The parallels seem obvious. But I also see signs of hope that the party that holds power in the White House and both houses of Congress may yet come to its senses. If its own sensibilities fail to lift the nation from the darkness, there are increasing reasons to hope that the Mueller investigation and the stream of White House staff resignations will lead the nation toward our better angels.

Why not speak now?

By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
Whoever belittles another lacks sense,
    but an intelligent person remains silent. [Proverbs 11:11-12]

Not wishing to add further to the belittling that comes from my own head as well as from the world around me, and hearing Maya Angelou’s wise counsel that hope and fear cannot occupy the same space, Views from the Edge invites hope to stay, and chooses to remain silent. But then … you never know. My grandchild Elijah may yet have something to say. 🤓

Thanks for dropping by.

Grace and Peace,

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 7, 2018

 

24 thoughts on “Breaking Silence

  1. Gordon,
    Welcome back Gordon! Thanks for your recollection of history and for speaking out at this time. History will repeat itself for those who have forgotten. We’re on the road. Somebody’s got to stop the train. The voices of wisdom and the actions of saints will help apply the brakes. Greeting to Elijah!
    Don

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    • Don, I hear the sound of the brakes and have more hope that Mueller will halt the train or that the Trumpian party will be defeated at the polls next November in large enough numbers to take the Senate AND the House. Even so, the damage is already great and will be hard to reverse. It may take Elijah to make it better!

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  2. Just look at the convocation you’ve got here, Gordon. It’s comforting to me, just enough when my own head seems so full with re-posts, dog whistles, and intellectual shorthand. Thank you.

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  3. My spirit is lifted. By the youth in high schools making their voices heard and their mark. By the number of concerned democrats coming out in hoards to vote—-wait for it- in PRIMARIES. Unheard of. Conor Lamb has gone ahead in the polls in a special election in PA18, a district that went for 45 in a huge way. Yes, I have fear, and whether I speak or not, I can’t chase it away. And I have hope, Maya, yes I do. And I can still express my concern and my warnings in the HOPE of helping to keep those of good will, whether DEm or GOP, aware of whahappnin and hopefully determined to change it soon.

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  4. I, too, am rendered speechless by the actions of our nation’s leaders (?) — I am reluctant to use that word — and hope against hope that wiser, more gracious souls will prevail. Thank you for sharing Angelou’s words and for your own thoughts, Gordon. A balm in these troublesome times…

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    • Thank you, Lori, for sharing here. Yes — “hope against hope that wiser, more gracious souls will prevail.” Hope, as opposed to optimism, is always an act of courage, isn’t it? These days we hope for what we cannot see and reach for balm instead of bombs. Maya Angelou shines as one of those wise, more generous souls. May Maya prevail and her spirit prevail. “You cannot kill the truth!”

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  5. I think we are all exhausted emotionally and mentally. All of us who have read history and see how close to that edge we have drawn find it terrifying … yet we need to live and we cannot live permanently under siege and terrified.

    I talked to an old online friend a couple of days ago. I know she’s one of those people, but I think she doesn’t have to be. We live too far apart to do anything much about it, but when she said the news media lied, I had to say “I live with a newsman and among our friends are many others whose lives are part of that business. News people DO NOT MAKE UP STORIES. They never did and they aren’t doing it now. That’s a lie you’ve been told. I’m sorry you feel that way, but it simply isn’t true.”

    “But,” she said, “What harm is it doing?”

    What in the world could I say to that? The conversation soon ended.

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    • Marilyn, the line of communication with your friend illustrates the problem, doesn’t it? The news media are bearers of bad tidings. We want only good tidings. Investigative reporting that goes after the truth is regarded as faux news. Meanwhile, there are shrugs, and the bones of the democratic republic’s skeleton begin to creek and the sinews and muscles that need flexing for the body politic to remain or to become healthy grow limp and thin. Like you said, “What can one say?”

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  6. Thank you, Gordon. It’s very good to hear from you. I’m working on a presentation from Hebrews about hope for our women’s circle, so it was good to read what you had to say. I will read it again!

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    • Thank you Cynthia and best wishes with the Hebrews presentation. So meaningful to just sit with the text, eh? Tonight is the third session of the Lenten series using Be Still! Wonderfully thoughtful group from House of Hope Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul.

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  7. Good one, Gordon. Regarding WWII, I’m going through photos these days in the process of reducing the load for when I put my place up for sale. I have come across photos from my early trip to Europe after the war and kept one of the bombed out devastation of Frankfurt. I’ve been tempted to take the time for a very short blog with nothing but that photo.

    Real horror is not like the movies where the actors get to stand up and go home to play another role another day.

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