white noise --noun Also called white sound. a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds. –www.dictionary.com
“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Did I ever tell you that at one time, for a very brief period of time, I wanted to be a playwright? Yes, when I was an undergraduate. I took this class entitled “Reading Drama, Reading Life,” and successive readings of the plays of James Baldwin, August Wilson, and Joseph A. Walker moved me to become a playwright.
So, in a weekend of frenzied and inspired creative energy, I wrote my first play. And on Monday, assured that I had just composed a virtual masterpiece, I presented the play to my professor who read it intently, said he found it quite good, but he offered one criticism. The characters talked too much.
In my zeal to write touching, affective dialogue, I had ignored the silences. As my professor told me on that morning, in drama as in life, sometimes what is not said is as important as what is said, if not moreso. It is in those silences, those vast lacunae between what is said and done and what is left unsaid and undone where true meaning and intent often resides.
But I have already talked too much. I have already given too much time in building this grandiose metaphor. Allow me to put it all in perspective.
For months now we have heard this cantankerous clamor of un-contrite cynicism from the right. This wall of white noise has become such that it has began to define the right. But this is the thing. I don’t believe everyone on the right concurs with those sentiments being expressed by what I take to be a very small but very vocal, very loud minority. In fact I know they don’t.
On a daily basis I interact with right-leaning and staunchly Republican friends and colleagues who are as dismayed as I by the rhetoric seemingly driven by racial animus and resentment. They come to me in private and lament the voices now speaking on behalf of the GOP.
They then shake their heads and dismiss themselves from my presence. Some even seek me out to apologize though I am not certain what a personal apology to me means in the whole scheme of things. But outside the closed doors of my presence, outside the four walls of my audience which hides their secret shame, they say nothing; they cross their fingers, and they whisper a silent, fervent prayer that everything turns out alright.
But such is the posture on the right now. Such is the attitude of the GOP. So desperate is the GOP establishment to return to power that they have cast their lot with the most base, fanatical, and fringe elements. And the louder this minority becomes, the more sensational their rhetoric becomes, the more attention they draw to themselves, the more the right acquiesces.
Even in this fringe’s more egregious assertions and actions, those who know better, those who claim the moral high ground for themselves, say nothing and even seem to be frightened to confront this beast of their own creation until the beast finally has taken over, making any rational, well-meaning discourse and decision making impossible; they now find themselves enslaved by this beast.
But what they do not realize is that at some point, those rational, sensible people looking on from the sidelines, those maligned groups spurned and trampled by this beast—African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities--, and those who have simply grown tired of the bombastic rhetoric, will look upon the GOP’s reticence, timidity, and cowardice and in the deafening cacophony of that silence they will realize true meaning, motive, and intent, and they will simply turn away.