What Would Edmund Burke Do?

I have had pretty harsh rhetoric for people perceived as ‘across the aisle’ from me for the past few years. The piling of tragedy upon tragedy upon near-tragedy this past week means that it is time for that to stop. Sort-of.

It is time to get rid of ineffectual labels. I am no longer a Republican or a Libertarian, and I never quite made it to being a Democrat. What I am is a humanitarian.

My base value, my ‘why’, the reason I get out of bed every day is to empower people so that they can achieve their fullest potential. That is not ‘politics’ or a ‘political position’ or a specific policy. What it is is a guarantee that I will support the politics, positions, people, and parties that support my ‘why’.

I could be standing in the base of the Marianas Trench and still have the clear moral highground over our President, so let me share this message with you:

If you believe in any type of violence outside of legitimate self-defense or the defense of others from an immediate threat, I have no use for you, and I have no place in my heart for you.

If you support people that have un-apologetically espoused violent rhetoric, condoned violence against specific groups of people, or participated in rhetoric that stokes the anger of groups known to resort to violence, I have no use for you, and I have no place in my heart for you.

If you are not a person that believes in the equity of all humans- at the very least starting with those inside our own communities, states, and nation… If your personal identity as a ‘hard worker’ is more important to you than the idea that some people have it worse than you do… If you fight to preserve your privilege at the expense of the equity of those ‘beneath’ you… I have no use for you, and I have no place in my heart for you.

These are not ‘political’ positions. I am not engaging on a ‘political’ level. I am engaging on a human level, to support my fellow humans against attacks both physical and rhetorical.

That said, there is no equivalence to be found here when surveying the political landscape. Nancy Pelosi, as little use as I have for her, is not leading chants against the press, or disheveled asylum-seekers fleeing their ‘shit-hole’ countries, or entire religions. Casey Weinstein is not calling Fox News the ‘enemy of the people’. Elizabeth Warren is not demeaning people by using names meant to disparage by birth association to an ethnic group. When Cory Booker addresses a crowd of people at a union hall up the street from my house, stressing the need for unity and internal strength, his message is not corrupted by the echo of ‘lock her up’ from his rally earlier in the day.

Look up the word ‘complicity’. Actually, don’t bother- I’ll do it for you:

“association or participation in a wrongful act,”

If you vote for or support people who do not support humanist values, you are complicit in the horrible deeds done by a world that does not value human life.

If you do not speak out against violent rhetoric, or if you do so only when it supports ‘your team’, you are complicit.

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Doing and saying nothing is complicity. Period. And know this: Complicity means you are not a good person.

I’m sorry. If you take this message to heart, it might very well not be a pleasant journey. I certainly have had to answer to myself for numerous things I’ve said, done, and believed over the years, and it’s likely that, in my pursuit of being the person I hope to be- the person I hope my dogs and future children see- I will have more to answer for, and I will have more painful and/or humbling experiences.

Think of it like a form of societal national debt. Is this burden of hate and inequality- the toxicity of this moment- what you want to leave your children and grandchildren? Do the work now- tax yourself, and demand that others ‘pay’ their fair share- so that we can hand the cleanest possible slate to those who come next. Let them solve the problems we haven’t even envisioned yet.

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