What is America? What does it mean to be American?

America IS protest.  To be American is to make your views known.  To be patriotic is to stand up for what you believe. The Boston Tea Party was not “civil” or “polite” – and it galvanized a movement that became a nation.

In August of 2017, we issued a statement entitled “There is no room for hate” in response to the events in Charlottesville. That statement said, in part:

In those days of nearly a century ago, the United States stood proud against genocide  and led the free world to oppose the tyranny of hate — are we now, in less than 100 years, to find ourselves destroyed from within by those same forces?

We call upon all people to back away from hatred, from violence, from condemnation of the “other” –and, most of all, from the Fear that reduces thought to unthinking reaction.

Now, here we are, nearly two years later, and – far from backing away from hatred – we are seeing that hatred spouted from a bully pulpit and echoed back by the crowd.   Chants may be “unthinking reaction” but pronouncements are deliberate.    In that same 2017 statement, we also said, “To oppose hatred and violence is not making a political statement – it is taking a moral position.”  We re-emphasize that position today.

We have not previously addressed the latest racist speech and chants, but we can no longer be silent in the name of “non-political position” – this is a moral position that we take.

19 July 2019

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