That ringing in our ears isn't tinnitus; it's our consciences reminding us of a moral fact: Even if the matter of culpability has been diluted by millions of others who also cast the ballots, we must share the blame, when there's blame that ought to be borne. Or, as Pastor Martin Niemöller provocatively proposed:
First they came for the communists
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
If the relevance of the preceding, to the need to be a citizen and actively involved -- even if that "active involvement" is limited to becoming and being well informed -- in the preservation of the civilized society we were graced to be born into seems obscure, how about Martin Luther King Jr's, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"?
Every one of us has an important role to play in either the maintenance or the dissolution of our democratic republic. And we play it -- whether we want to, or not -- with our actions, or our failures to act. One either seizes the keys to the republic, or we hand them over to someone else, or we permit that someone else to take them from us. No matter which, we were personally responsible for that which happened next; the good and the bad. But that's what being a responsible adult is all about, isn't it?
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