VIPER ONE SIX: Resist fear and silence and let your voice be heard

Dave Shearman
Dave Shearman

I enjoy writing as it has been a means for me to express my views and opinions. I have been graciously afforded the opportunity to write an opinion column for this paper for several years now. In it, I have mostly focused my writings on military, veteran and law enforcement issues. I have even expressed my opinion on political issues from time to time.

I say that I enjoy writing, but I did not say that it is easy because it is not. Attempting to effectively communicate a message within a limited amount of space is challenging – ask this newspaper’s editor about that. But to my point, I have not submitted a column for this paper in several weeks because I do not seek to be antagonistic or divisive by any means. I do take my small platform at this paper seriously and it is my intent to express views upon which I support and believe in and to be productive. It is not my intent to add to the amount of negativity that we all are exposed to daily.

However, we are living in uncertain times, a period in which forces are attempting to place this country on a different path. A path, I dare say, that is dark. Where would we be as a country or as a people if it had not been for the writings and voices of those in our past who refused to be quelled? Even today, what impact upon our lives in America would be realized had it not been for those men and women who chose to stand and be accounted for? What challenges and obstacles would we have not surmounted had not been for people of vision, hard work and dedication to improving our country and our combined lot in life?

Should it be that writers do not write? That speakers do not speak and citizens do not stand up and demand to be heard from their government for fear of retaliation? Unfortunately, there are those among us who want just that. To be silent in the worst time is to surrender. To be silent is to give in to the forces which may be the loudest but not the ones with our best interests in mind. Today, far too many Americans are silent. They are concerned about their safety and security, their financial future, their health and their job security. The threat of being socially canceled and labeled and excluded from society at large, their very own community, and even their own family is real and thus, so are their concerns as despicable as that reality may be.

However, I do believe we, as fellow citizens, have much more in common than we may know and perhaps may have forgotten. I believe that the majority of our fellow citizens in this community, our state and our country hold the same core belief in the values and attributes of our homeland such as our governmental structure, it’s institutions, our capitalistic based economic system, reverence for the rule of law and a demand for a blind system of  justice.

I am extremely thankful to live in a country that constitutionally guarantees my rights and freedoms and affords all of us the possibility to be able to pursue our individual dreams and life desires. I was never guaranteed anything from this country. I was never told I would be given anything in this life except one thing – opportunity. Opportunity to pursue my dreams, provide for myself and family, to live in freedom and to create a life, whatever that may be, all of which was to be achieved through the application of hard work, personal fortitude, sacrifice and dedication.

So today, I write. Because if I choose not to, then I surrender. If I do not write and stand up and be counted, then I must lay down the flag of freedom and be forced to raise a white flag in its stead. You may not believe this, but you should, because there are forces among us that are dark and do not hold the same values upon which our country was formed. These forces have been slowly growing for many years, gaining strength, and now appear to be like a thief in the night capable of stealing those common values and way of life right from under us.

Certainly, we have things to improve upon in this nation and we will, democratically, just as we have done in the past. This is the uniqueness of this country. This is not a partisan issue and I do not write this in any such way. This is an issue of whether we, collectively, as sane, freedom loving, law abiding, American citizens want to continue building our country upon the ideals it was founded or to go down a dark and uncertain new path.

The choice is truly ours and ours alone. A choice upon which we all must be held responsible and accountable for. In these uncertain times, I encourage all of you to resist fear and silence and let your voice be heard. Do not raise the white flag of surrender, yet raise the flag of freedom and let it fly high and proud.

Viper One Six – Out.

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