I Want My Country Back – NO!! Forward

I Want My Country Back – NO!! Forward

My dear friend Debbie, a talented woman, made T-shirts for us to wear to the recent gun law march in Santa Fe. And I must say that the youth who spoke and performed gave me much to look forward to in our country’s future. As we attempt to be optimistic in such combustible times, I reflect on this rally to boost my only sense of hope: our youth.

Debbie Michelson wears her creative T-shirt at the Santa Fe rally for gun safety.

Debbie Michelson wears her creative T-shirt at the Santa Fe rally for gun safety.

The other day, I read essays printed in The New York Times written by college applicants. My sister commented, “I’m glad I’m not up against them!” They all wrote beautifully and from their hearts. Of course, these were applicants to the best of schools, but my relief in knowing that these young people can express themselves so well was palpable. I had thought that the ability to write and to speak was a quickly disappearing art up until these events and the eloquence of the Parkland students.

As I sit and write the prequel to What Survives, I think of the changes that have occurred so recently and so quickly in Turkey. The differences in the Turkey I knew in 1997 and what I discovered there in 2014 were startling. That year was just the beginning, but people no longer spoke openly regarding their politics, only carefully, behind closed doors. This made me sad.

I believe in freedom of speech. I do not believe in nasty, diminishing remarks, such as “I only like those who were not captured” or “he’s dying anyway,” and my politics are way on the other side of the fence from Sen. John McCain of Arizona. There is a certain decency that we have not seen since the Obamas were living in the White House.

However, what happens if journalists and bloggers like myself begin to be carted off to jail? Suppose students are arrested while protesting? That certainly has happened here. Is there any way to draw the line? Will our excellent youth become subject to fear of speaking their minds? We must support and speak out with them and for them. This is the only way we can force our country forward, NOT back.

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