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…speak now, or forever hold the pieces…

January 11, 2011

Words are powerful things.  They have meaning.  They have strength.  Words convey emotion, dissent, consent.  They express our fears.  They offer our condolences.  Words communicate ideas, information, desires.

 

They do this with or without our attention.

 

What we say, once it has entered the realm of human discourse, can not be retrieved.  It can not be changed or altered in any way.  It can be amended, of course, and apologized for, but the words themselves, and the weight of those words, will exist forever.

 

Particularly now in an age where those words are captured and perpetuated by the growing empire of mass communication.

 

We, as a society at large, are lazy with our words.  We choose them for the momentary impact and forget to consider how they may stand in a larger context.  We hide behind the idea that in the United States we have the freedom to say whatever we desire, a right granted us by our Constitution, without realizing the personal responsibility that confers upon each of us.

 

We must also contend with the truth that for all that our words matter, our silence does as well.  The implied consent of silence has a lasting effect on the world in which we live, a world in which the extremes get all of the air time and the middle lies quietly, silently allowing others to speak for them.

 

We are broken, our society, our country…we have stopped considering the weight of our words, the power of our voices.  We have abdicated our right to be heard because we throw our words carelessly into the ether without thought to the consequences.

 

Political rhetoric, school bullies, meaningless platitudes, playful insults, unfettered ranting against perceived injustice, bigotry, religious persecution…from the national stage to the very personal daily drama of life, words have meaning, and we must remember that our words carry, they travel, they come to life and spread around us, influencing people we may never know more than in passing.

 

Choose your words with care, express yourself with compassion…but speak up, speak now…or forever hold the pieces of the lives that are shattered in the silence.

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