The Waters of Change

I originally planned for this speech to be very different.

To be calm.

To be free from emotion.

But I realize now that tying myself to an emotionless speech is not freedom, but imprisonment.

To us skeptics out there, it may feel laughable to hear someone say that we are living in a moment of history.

That the time we are living in is somehow grander and more impactful from the others.

But it is true when they say it is difficult to recognize an important moment in history when we are living in it.

Yet, I completely disagree with this sentiment.

We do not live as passive observers to history like lilies by a river, no we are thrust headfirst into its raging white-lipped waters capable of slicing through the stones of tradition and the past.

Time, as Martin Luther King once said, a name you will no doubt hear repeated and words you will no doubt hear be used, he said time is neutral.

It can be used constructively or left to float along on the river, buoyed by the currents and free from our control.

A fundamental understanding of important moments in history requires an understanding that these moments are a single titanic tidal wave of change formed by a thousand splashes from a million arms. 

Here, I specifically address my fellow Americans. 

We swim in the current of time plagued by a storm; a storm of lightning, a storm of thunder, a storm of chaos.

Splintering walls of water crash against humanity's vessels, carving holes into our iron hull.

The future is at odds with the past, acceptance facing fear, hope against despair.

The polarization of these times festers on the worst and the best of us, igniting flames on each sides filled with emotions, each trying to gain control while only burning down the ship in the process.

But, this is not true.

There are not two flames. 

There is one flame, a flame burning from the forgotten ashes of the past, a flame burning with the desire to continue to burn. A torch held up by demagogues, struck by the ignorant, and sold from the Powerkeepers. 

For millennia, the Powerkeepers have closely held to the steering wheel of time, guiding it forward when appropriate, but never too far from land. 

The rich, the elite, whatever name they are given, whatever time they are from, whatever faces they wear, they are the captains from underneath the shadows. The figurehead at the brunt of the ship is just that. A figurehead.

The Powerkeepers grew this fire, spilling oil in the form of unjustified prejudices, stoking fears of loss when there were none, chucking sticks of hate, all the while suffocating it from oxygen. 

They would like us to believe the flame is the villain, the mastermind, the core of hatred, the root of fear, the source of destruction. 

But when assigning blame to arson, do we blame the fire or the arsonist?

Their leashed flame only arrives in moments of change, in moments when others began to seize the helm and shift it towards the horizon ahead.

The Powerkeepers, of course, cannot stand for it. 

And in our time, they've set loose a wild fire even they cannot control, but they do not need to. The flames of bigotry strengthen in the sea, polarized by false threats and their own smoke. 

The leader of a government of the people, by the people, for the people follows at his master's behest, carelessly tossing kerosene aboard the ship. The smoke rises and the sun's heat bristles from even behind the clouds. 

In times plagued by derisiveness, polarization, and hatred: racism, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and far too many more.

These are not the times to fall into despair, to sink into the boundless oceans, wrapped up in its forgetful darkness.

The darkest times are when lights shine their brightest.

Courage despite all fear and hope despite all despair is greatest in moments of greatest fear and greatest despair.

The battle against these forces, economic, social, and political, is no one's duty.

It is the duty of all. Humanity, in its shared destiny, in its shared boat upon the waters of time, is responsible for one another. 

It is easy to slip into apathy and to slip into self-worry and to slip into hopelessness.

We are not here to do what is easy, but to do what is right. 

I call upon all of you, to use this time to hope and not give in, to raise your voice and not silence it, and to make your splash while you can.

The likes of President Donald J Trump and those in higher office unwilling to pointedly criticize against a virulent racism so blatant, so clear must be sent a message.

A message not of violence or of hatred, but of simple and forceful rejection. 

They reject the American values of acceptance.

We decry them for that.

They reject the American values of progress.

We decry them for that.

They reject the American values of love.

We decry them of that.

American history is an ugly tale for those who've been oppressed. We live in a time to write a new history. To steer ourselves into a different direction, one free from blaming bigotry and hopeless hate.

The waters of time are neutral. It can be used constructively or destructively.

The waters of change are upon us.

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