I watched a bride and groom exchanging vows in view of the sun setting on their life apart. The groomsmen entering the reception to a song by The Weeknd. The bridesmaids dancing in to a Bollywood classic. And the bride and groom slowly slipping into their new life to a traditional processional.
I danced on a dance floor filled with men in suits dancing with women in traditional attire, next to men in tuxes, women in gowns, and children running around in their own world.
I enjoyed a buffet of wedding classics of pasta, fish, and salads, with generous helpings of traditional dishes of rice and dumplings. Topping off the evening with a piece of wedding cake along sweets from my distant childhood. And, of course, a cup of tea.
I saw family and friends from near and far. Some born here, others fresh from their voyages to a new home.
I was an American enjoying our America.
But while my heart soared in this ceremony of love, my mind remained burdened by the undeniable truths unfolding thousands of miles away, but still in our America.
Men with torches marching on a campus of higher learning. Flags of long defeated enemies unfurled and saluted by the youth of our generations. All while guarded by militias of armed men exercising their Second Amendment rights to intimidate others seeking their First Amendment rights.
Videos and photos of a car speeding through protestors like bowling pins. Killing one and injuring many others. A definitional act of terror that has been called by many other names.
And then silence. A deafening silence from above. Events that made our American spirits scream, garnered barely a whisper from our leaders. And from the top, silence followed by equivocation. "Many sides"
We have reached a crossroads in our America. Like any crossroad, it did not simply appear. We arrived here step-by-step. Each step taken in denial of the inevitable step that follows, and the steps already taken. But here we are.
The road ahead has two sides.
We can choose to ignore our reality. To hide from our current self-evident truths disparaged as "fake news." To believe history was about others and that it will never repeat for us.
Or we can choose our next step to move ourselves forward.
We can choose to still hold these truths to be self-evident, while recognizing that self-evident is not self-fulfilling.
We can choose to know that we are all created equal, while realizing that we are far from being treated as equals.
We can choose to know that we have been endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, while understanding that all of our rights are alienable and require unflinching diligence to protect and maintain.
We can choose to live this life, to enjoy this liberty, and to take advantage of this opportunity like no other to pursue our own happiness, but we cannot live in denial that there are others who seek to take these from us.
We can choose which side to take.
We can choose to use the simplest and most effective means of pursuing our more perfect union. To speak up for what is right. To use the mighty pen to defeat the approaching swords.
Or we can remain silent. We can observe our leaders abdicate moral leadership. We can watch as our America fades away.
For me there is but one choice. I choose to take a side. I choose to speak.