Deafening Silence

My silence is deafening, even to my own ears. It is not for lack of anything to say rather it is that there is far to much to say and the voices in my head keep whispering, arguing even that I should remain silent if I cannot find anything nice to say. I have nothing. This is the truth, I have a thousand voices in my head whispering, arguing, fussing and fighting and most of the time I sit on the sidelines listening. But me? I have nothing to say, or possibly it is I have so much to say it is impossible to place my thoughts into a cohesive, coherent and manageable context. But as the year meanders forward I am trying hard to write, just write outside of my journals.

What do I think? I think we, all of us in this nation are on the very brink of disaster. I think we are staring into the abyss I am afraid for us all. I wonder every single day if our systems will hold. Thus far, they have been falling apart without so much as a whimper from those we elect to act in our best interest and who take oaths to uphold the Constitution and our systems of government.

Speak truth to power is not new in our lexis, coined by the Quakers in the 1950’s, it is a commanding challenge, intended to be nonviolent, intended to codify our voices in our First Amendment and challenge injustice. Yet somehow this has become lost, somehow the courage to stand up, speak truth to power has been replaced with sniveling, groveling and speaking for power with no concern for truth. Somehow, somewhere in the past two years we the people have determined it is acceptable to set aside all moral reason and enable personal cowardice, political expediency and corruption as the new norm. Somehow, somewhere our new norm has become mean, no matter what side of the aisle you sit on mean is celebrated, activism encapsulated to mean agree with me or else and ugly is valued.

Oh, yes I am aware there are those who speak out, yet even they are speaking out for their own truth rather than a national truth, a national best interest despite the mantle they drape themselves in. Then there are those who question just where the national conscious disappeared to, yet they do so loudly and at every opportunity they seem to be part of the problem sometimes. So many of these new young guns are so far to the other side of the argument they are difficult to ‘hear’ without questioning their motives, their values and their ultimate goals. As these standard bearers of the ‘new’ age come into their own they are fascinating to watch, somewhat like a snake charmer is fascinating but one wonders always when that Cobra will strike, killing the Charmer and everyone else within range. With their sincerity and passion for breaking the middle and demanding their way or no way, they are the new Tea Party, ready to destroy everything in their path, throwing out everything and everyone they deem irrelevant or out of step.

Lately, my voice has been silenced by my utter dismay at the fervor some have shown to take on the any and all who are not aligned to them. What I mean by this is those who were once ‘normal’, once compassionate, once willing to listen, once willing to argue and debate even if passionately for their positions are no longer willing to do these things. Those who once cheered Michelle Obama saying, “when they go low, we go high”; now reach for the lowest point and swing with glee. The world is upside down, inside out and without boundaries. Those who once stood for something, even if I disagreed stand for nothing at all but the very ugliest of our nature and our common history. Those who once believed in something believe in nothing at all but are sheep following their ‘belief’ into disaster, willing to believe any lie so long at it is told by their side of the great divide.

I don’t just say this about one side or the other of the political spectrum, but about both sides. It seems we are at a breaking point, we have dumbed down the populace to such a degree it is better to believe a lie than to demand truth, better to inflate invention than hold not only our elected officials but ourselves to a higher standard. We willingly deliver into social media every single day memes that insult our friends and then ask, ‘what?’. We fail, miserably and frequently to understand what we say and do affects our relationships not just today but forever, or maybe we have sunk so low we don’t care. We willing defend the indefensible at the expense of life-long friendships and family rather than consider the consequence of our jumping into fray.

I must be honest, I do this myself. React to something I find offensive, then regret my actions and words immediately. Thus, my silence becomes deafening, even to my own ears. Afraid to speak, afraid to defend, afraid to react. Never have I found myself without words, never in my entire life have I found myself afraid to offend. Now though, today and in this toxic and terrible nation we have allowed to thrive around us all, now I am terrified.

Aren’t you?


  1. I think it may be kind of pointless to try to speak truth to power when the power defines truth as whatever fits their interest at the moment, and tries its best to not hear anything that disagrees with them.

    • I know X but I think we have to try. Us old dogs, we have to try. Whether it is to the opposition or to those who claim to be on our side or to have our best interest at heart. We have to try. As much as I might want to sit silent and watch, I don’t think I am able to do so any longer. I fear the worst and no longer hope for the best. So, speak up and out, no matter the consequence.

  2. True story: I was looking through a few old blog posts of my own last week, saw a comment from you, and clicked on your name to see if your blog was still active. It was, though you hadn’t updated in many months. Seeing your name today was kind of freaky!

    Yes. I am terrified. I avoid discussing politics on my blog because the topic is far too polarizing these days.

    • It is Mark, thus much of my silence. But here we go. A rough ride ahead and so we cannot afford the silence. So though it is afraid I might be, my silence must be broken.

  3. Welcome back, Valentine! Your voice is always a comfort in the darkness that there are others out there outraged at what is happening in America. May more speak out for what is right, decent and honest.

    • Thank you, I am going to try to speak out more. Break my silence more. The world is far to broken, we cannot afford not to speak, weep and then stand up for what is right and even righteous.

  4. Dear Valentine,
    Good to hear your voice again. Most of what you have written I could repeat about English democracy which has been destroyed by the people who elected to represent the people but who are really only working for themselves…My American partner said yesterday who glad he was to be living in a peaceful non-violent society like NZ… but even that peace has been shattered by hate recently…. apres nous le deluge alas….

    • I thought of you and wept and the pain of your small country torn apart by the ugliness of hate spreading. I think we are all heartbroken and torn by what is happening across this world of ours. Thus, we cannot be silenced, not even by our wish to stand apart.

  5. I suddenly thought of you the other day, Val, and here you are!

    Yes, I feel the U.S. is in a state of decline. But I also believe that more people are recognizing this fact and starting to take action. Education, information and general awareness of one’s circumstances are always crucial to changing our society. This grand experiment known as participatory democracy is under attack by self-styled oligarchs. History has proven again and again that such scoundrels just don’t last too long.

    • I agree, more people are becoming aware. Yet still I am afraid there are so many who won’t stand up. We will see what happens. Will we outlast this one?

  6. Welcome back, Val. I’ve missed your presence here and at my end.

    Near the end, you hit the nail on the head (but I’ll use my phrasing) – politicians react in the party’s best interest first – not the nation’s. All one has to do is read the comments about the Mueller Report to realize that. I’ve only noticed two GOP Senators voicing concerns & and no Representatives. (but to be fair, I have sought everyone).

    DEMS aren’t much different just the opposing view. No question in my mind that if the situation was reversed, the actions would be reversed. Again, no Country-First behavior.

    There is also another factor – the people – the people who also carry the “party-first” mantra. The people who help build the partisan divide. The people who can’t say anything beyond the party line or beyond the words of the talking heads who spew party politics.

    • Thank you Frank. I am going to try hard to start pulling my thoughts out coherently and sharing again, reading and writing. I though it was simply better to be silent until I could do so.

      Yes, you are correct. But today I simply wanted to focus on the whole. Maybe tomorrow I will start picking them apart one by one.

  7. Yes,I am. Thank you for writing this insightful, brilliant look at our nation’ s plight today. It is an entirely different one that seemingly suddenly arose from a pit of hate and ignorance and bigotry that has been festering for some time. I am looking, almost in vain, for the strong, intelligent, effective, compassionate leaders to emerge.Where are they?

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