Keep in mind, before Emilee Klein died, before election day 2016, then Mr. Trump said, “If anyone is terminally ill, make sure you make it to election day to vote for me.”
Her response, “If I have to crawl there, I will survive long enough to vote and not for him.” I pushed the wheelchair.
So, I write this for me. For others who feel this way. And I write it for Emilee, because she would have been proud. Make that, she is proud, of me for writing this. She is always in my heart. I did my best to take the high road. I hope I have succeeded.
This essay was 942 words. I edited it down to 538, no simple feat. I did it so it could run on the op-ed page of the New Haven Register online and in print, which has a limit of 550. Ta Da as Emilee would have said. Ta Da.
July 4 was our Day of Independence. Notes played of our freedoms and our democracy. And our tragedies.
I think the gravity of losing five journalist’s lives has been forgotten already. The pop of fireworks reminds me. This was a tragedy.
Senseless killing is a tragedy. These people were devoted to reporting the truth. This makes it much more significant. Especially around this holiday of celebration of freedom as a democracy.
Remember our freedoms. Our cherished free press that has come under attack. I am deeply distressed and concerned about our basic freedoms.
I am heartened by the responses of many to refuse to be silent. To refuse to silently watch as much of our progress in education, gun control, the environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ, immigration, and so much more, is chiseled away.
I am so proud of the students who have raised their voices. They aroused many other voices. I am disheartened by those who tried to discredit survivors of school shootings. I am lifted by those who have defended them. They demonstrate that integrity and honesty surpasses slander, lies, falsehoods, and attempts to muddy truth with half-truths and lies.
I am proud of our freedom to raise our voices. Raise them. We shall continue to raise them. For decency, integrity, and compassion. We shall continue to do so until we correct our course.
We must get back to exemplifying values that we can be proud of without hate, intolerance, and acting out. We must strive towards a greater consciousness, not a base instinct level of response.
I believe we are supposed to be evolving beyond that, and not reverting to fight or flight reactions. That is an older part of our brains. A part reminiscent of our ancestors. A part that helped us survive in the past.
I think we must move on to a higher functioning brain. One that considers more than fight or flight. There are other options in addition to, “I stand my ground and fight, or I run like the wind.” There are options of cooperation and inventing creative solutions. Options of viewing this planet as a community. One where we survive or perish depending on how well we cooperate and care for each other with mutual respect.
I think we are at a critical juncture, and it has become starkly apparent. The contrast between base instinct and higher consciousness has never been clearer. I don’t like the picture our current leadership portrays.
I hope we continue to lift our voices in reason and desire for truth. I hope we continue to reject distorting and confusing the truth. I hope we continue to raise our voices to care for both our planet and the inhabitants of it. Let us dare to speak for those that don’t have a voice.
Let us continue to exercise our right to insist on decency and integrity. Let us never rest until we are once again on a path of hope and celebration of freedom. Freedom we have struggled to develop, mature, and to improve over the course of our history. Let us not go backwards.
In the spirit of freedom and independence my hope is that we correct our course, and once again move forward.
Neal Harvey … good day.