Speaking up for America

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No doubt all feel pragmatic imperatives not to speak: partisan identity in some cases, ambition in others, or distaste for the unpleasantness of any conflict with the most egomaniacal, impulsive, and vituperative president in history. But as national-security officials, all have been party to decisions that exposed fellow Americans to the risk of their lives.

Much less is asked of any of them now. They are asked only to risk their quiet retirements—their after-careers of speaking engagements and seats on boards of directors. Is that so dear? Tell the truth, all of it—not just adjectives and conclusions, but the actual details of the self-dealing by Trump, of the security risks he presents, of his inattention and ignorance.

Speak so that people feel it, so that people understand it, so that people can do something about it while there is time.

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Cruz was right. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. He was charged with ten counts of violating the Espionage and Sedition acts during his Canton speech. I abhor war. I would oppose the war if I stood alone. The jury found Debs guilty on three counts, and the judge sentenced him to ten years in prison. Newspaper editorials across the nation cheered his conviction.

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Supreme Court, which ruled in that expressing sympathy for men who resisted the draft made Debs himself guilty of the same offense. Debs reported to prison in Moundsville, West Virginia, in April After the war, he became the symbol of a growing movement pushing for amnesty for imprisoned radicals. In newspapers and everyday conversation, Americans debated whether to free Debs. In , the Socialist Party nominated Debs for his fifth run for president. Campaigning from prison, Debs issued weekly campaign statements to the United Press wire service. Rather than debate Republican candidate Warren G.

As Convict No. Harding, who replaced Wilson in March , was more receptive to the amnesty campaign. Debs died in at age His Canton speech remains a classic of American dissent -- the actor Mark Ruffalo gave a dramatic reading from it in He remains a hero to American socialists — including Senator Bernie Sanders, who directed a documentary about Debs and read his quotes in his distinctive Brooklyn accent.

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Let go of needing to be perfect and liked. Just do it. Korematsu has never been overturned. Very few white Americans spoke out against internment. Dehumanizing words accelerate into prejudice, discrimination, and violence. Are you going to go about business as usual?

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Or are you going to use your power- your privilege as an American citizen- to speak out? I hope you choose to recognize the humanity in each and every one of those , young people. To show up. To push back. To say no, "Not on my watch.