Writers are artists. Our medium is words. And as artists, we have to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” What defines me? Am I a Glen Campbell or a Tommy Smothers? Am I a Maurice Chevalier or an Edith Piaf?
During the Vietnam conflict, Glen Campbell decided he was an entertainer and it was not his role to take part in the politics of pro or anti-war factions. Tommy Smothers decided otherwise. And Tommy paid for that decision. His TV show was cancelled. For his activism, he gained some fans and he lost others. And for his decision, Campbell gained some fans and lost others.
During World War II, Maurice Chevalier decided he was an entertainer and it was not his role to do other than entertain, even if it was for those who had overrun his country. Edit Piaf was an active member of the Resistance. Obviously, she was not found out, for she would have paid a far more serious price than Tommy Smothers. After the war, some Frenchmen accused Chevalier of collaboration, which, he denied.
In these days of trumpery, artists must also ask themselves “Who am I?” And in asking that question, I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it.”
I believe in the power of thoughts and prayers. I believe in the power of becoming myself what I want the world to be. I believe in the power of words to place people in positions where they can change their own minds about something. I believe, as Viktor Frankl pointed out, you cannot make anyone do anything they truly do not want to do. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Choice always intervenes. So I choose.
I'm done with trying to not alienate GOP voters, Trump supporters who otherwise might be amenable to changing their views. Time is up. I'm done with that. The man is deeply disturbed and objectively reprehensible. If you can't see that, it's time to think long and hard about what that says about you. Whatever price I pay for this decision, in my mind, is better than the price I would pay for silence in the face of evil.
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