Silent never made you safe

Boston at sunset

“Silent never made you safe.” I think I read that on tumblr, and it stuck with me. It’s an appealing idea – that being brave is safer. But it’s not true, is it? Being silent has kept plenty of people safe, whether we’re talking bar fights or pogroms. Being silent would probably have kept Xulhaz Mennan safe.

The real question: is safety your highest goal? How safe do you need to be? How safe is it actually possible to be as a human being here on Earth?

It’s safer not to speak up when you are sexually assaulted. It’s safer not to speak up when you see injustice to others. Does safer always mean healthier, though? What does it do to your soul when you stay silent?

Safety might be your highest goal at this moment, and that is totally fine. You need what you need, and protecting yourself is a worthy purpose. Some times of your life, you have to focus on safety above all.

But your highest goal might be something else entirely. Your highest goal might be speaking the truth. It might be protecting other people. Hell, it might be making money or gaining power. If those are your goals, you have to act like it. Those aren’t goals you achieve by focusing on safety. Or, for that matter, by staying silent.

So maybe this is what it ought to say on Tumblr: silent never made you stronger.