I was blessed to be taught at a young age, that you can learn from anyone and any situation. As we look back to the incidents that occurred in Charlottesville, VA—there is much to be learned and many actions that need to happen in our lives as individuals as well as a community. I wonder in my mind, what the Founding Fathers of our country would think of what has gone on recently but more importantly—where are we as a country.
Our country was founded on the principles that EVERY individual has the right to pursue happiness. When we have groups or individuals who want to control that right we run aground and stray from the foundation on which this country was built. We must also be careful to not allow the rights of one or a few to overshadow the rights of the many.
Many were opposed that this radical group wanted to express their opinions. They wanted to silence them and that in itself contradicts the First Amendment.
What about hate speech? The remedy for it is not to silence or censor it, because we need to know from where it comes. The remedy is more speech—speech to challenge the hatred, speech to educate the haters, speech to expose their moral vacuity. More speech will create an atmosphere antithetical to hatred.
That is where we as a community must dialogue—have meetings such as this so that we can articulate what we as a group believe in and set the tone for how we will govern ourselves. Gatherings where all are welcome.
Many have said that America is a melting pot for all and I would challenge that. As I have learned at a recent conference, America is a big pot of gumbo—where the best ingredients come together to create a taste like no other. Different but together, Oh how so good are they.
America is a place where there have been contributions from many people from varied backgrounds who have collectively created something great. If you take one of those groups and their contributions out—we would all suffer greatly and life as we know it would not be the same. Anyone who wants to hate or separate must be willing to give up those great contributions that make life as we know it so good.
I am often saddened to see the comments on Wilton 412 as it does not show Wiltonians at their best. I will address one issue, we are here at a Church because we the Wilton Clergy have learned to work together to make the place where we live a better place.
Yes, we have differences, but we respect and I would even say love each other for the flavor that each adds to the Gumbo. We have come here to respond the fears, the anger and the sadness that so many of our constituents have expressed to us. We would be negligent in our duty if we did not answer the call.
We come together to dialogue and be agents for change. We welcome you. Thank you for coming. Let us begin this gathering with our ears, hearts, and brains open to dialogue. To dialogue in a civil way, a respectful way and in an inclusive way.
Let me close with a quote from Albert Einstein—“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Let us as a community ensure that we do not watch but act.