Our neighbors care about us — Guest Post by Richard Bott

Richard Bott, of the Canadian Pacific coast, wrote this to me:

Soooo… this came out of my fingers this morning. I don’t think it’s mine to post, but I needed to share it with someone. In constant prayer for you and all your neighbours, Maren, and with thanks to Martin Niemöller for his witness and words. 

I understand why Richard hesitates to write about the United States in what appears to be a critical fashion, but I actually think that it comes from his love.

First they came for the black and brown folk,
(demanding proof that these citizens
had a “right” to be where they were)
but I did not speak out,
because I am not black or brown.

Then they came for the migrants,
(and ICE ripped children from their parents,
putting them in cages like dogs)
but I did not speak out,
because I am not a migrant.

Then they came for the Muslims
(and the Jews, and the Tribes,
and the LGBTQ and the…
and the…
and the…)
but I did not speak out because…
because…

I am not…
I am…

not…

but, I am.

I am a citizen,
of a liberal democracy whose constitution is based
on the rule of law,
that all people are to be treated equally in its eyes,
and that no one,
from the man living on the street,
to the man who sits in the seat of power,
is above it,
and that everyone has the right
to life,
to freedom,
to the pursuit of happiness.

I am a human being,
and a human doing.

The sword in my siblings’ side,
the gun pointed at their head…
is the sword and the gun,
pointed at my own.

I am them.

So I must speak.

Now.

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