It is challenging not being an emotional wreck at the moment with the ongoing influx of news revealing a new normal which dictates that the bricks our shelters Liberty & Democracy have costly and laboriously been built upon be removed one by one by the craze of a man so full of ego, he can’t see anything past himself.
When adverse times come, our only hope for those of us who have faith is God, but for the rest, is courage, solidarity and the knowledge that we are not alone in the fight against bigotry, evil, injustice and abuse. We need to speak, and we need to speak loud and clear. Not just those who enjoy a platform from which they can easily be heard and guide others, but certainly more so them.
I woke up this morning and was elated to learn Richard Armitage had pronounced himself against Theresa May’s shameful delay in stating that she “does not agree” with the US ban on refugees. In his tweet Richard courageously demands her to “say it loud and with conviction”.
But therein lies the rub, because nothing denotes half-heartedness and lack of conviction more than speaking up for the truth and then taking it back by deleting all evidence that you ever positioned yourself one way or the other with regards to mammoth global game-changer issues such as refugees, women’s rights, bigotry, you name it. As well as tweeting about May, Richard went on to delete not only his touching Christmas’ message which gave hope and inspired thousands of us, but also his statement about the pride he felt for being at the Women’s’ March. I cannot even begin to tell you how winded that has left me feeling. Ironically, it has also taken the wind out of my sails.
Standing up for the truth and being counted ARE sacrificial acts which inevitably put one at risk of adverse consequences, namely verbal abuse, trolling, threats and even much worse. I get it. I am a passionate believer that only the truth can set us free and therefore speak truthfully fully aware of the backlash that pursuing the truth always brings with it. I get abuse, defamation, insults, trolling and harassment on an ongoing basis, but to me none of that compares with the peace one feels within, knowing that not only you are being true to your convictions but that when the pressure intensifies and when there is much at risk, you stand by those convictions and fight for them not with less resolve, but even more.
One cannot demand of others, in this case, May, to speak out loud and with conviction, if we ourselves are not prepared to stand by what we said. Richard’s tweet expressing his pride in taking part in the New York Women’s’ March got the most likes and retweets he has ever had on twitter by far, if I am not mistaken. That means this issue is one that matters to people, a hell of a lot! People applauded his courage in adversity, his courage to position himself one way or the other, specially significant because of his popularity and career. It is true to say that those who have much, risk much. So many of us were moved by his fearlessness to take a stand and make himself be counted against widely accepted misogyny and discrimination. Yes, the March wasn’t perfect and yes there were many women (and men) there behaving in shameful ways which do not represent me in the least and which had little to do with what the march was about, BUT the general gist and spirit of it was good and right and it spoke volumes about the power of solidarity against thugs and bullies who get away with “murder” when the rest of us choose to remain silent.
In the words of Ellie Wiesel:
I do not know the reasons why Richard deleted those two monumentally significant tweets and others in the past , but whatever the reason, I think we can all agree on the consequences that deleting them have. Some say that deletion is a way for him to cut the blood supply of personal attacks amongst fans/followers and towards him. And whilst that may be the case and may be effective for a while, the underlying currents of hatred and bigotry still remain and will find a new outlet. Yes, he received disgusting abuse and vitriol for his tweet about the Women’s march, often at the hands of Christians , I am ashamed to admit, but if we all buckle under pressure, we do more damage than if we had not spoken up in the first place. It gives an impression of lack of conviction, of wavering, of doubting that the truth you stood for is indeed the truth. For each tweet, affirmation or stand we take back, the “enemy” gains ground, gains support, gains strength.
And if there is one thing I am sure about Richard, is that his convictions are rock solid, he means what he says, his truth is his banner, his shield, his sword and the drum to which his heart beats, which makes the effect of his deletions all the more catastrophic at a crucial time in history when consistency, resolve and stoicism are required.
I can’t help but wonder if his latest tweet challenging Theresa May’s complacency and lack of courage, will soon be deleted too when bigots and trolls who feel threatened by views they do not share will go on a rampage to destroy what took so much courage to build. It is my daily prayer that this is not the case but ultimately it is Richard’s choice.
These are very challenging times for all of us and the weeks, months and years ahead will reveal the metal each of us is made of, indeed whether it is even metal we are made of. Yes, we are flesh and blood but history has taught us the unbeatable force the human spirit can be when we stand together fighting relentlessly for justice, truth and freedom. Sadly, it has also taught us the carnage that can take place when we remain silent or we speak but then discard the evidence of where we stood when it most counted, when it most mattered.