I’m a peacemaker by nature. I identify as a liberal — someone who values not just tolerance, but acceptance; embracing others with love even when I don’t agree with them.

Not anymore.

Like many, I was shocked when a terrible bully became the “leader” of this country. It forced me to do a lot of soul searching. And I realized the rise of Donald Trump is largely my liberal, peacemaking fault. We tried too hard to be nice, civil, understanding and polite. My white privilege lulled me into the false belief that things were better and kindness was key.

After two years of this inward reflection and navigating the horrors of the current administration, I freely admit I was dangerously wrong. When human rights and our very environmental well-being are under attack, there is simply no place for civility, olive branches or middle ground. We must be uncompromising when it comes to defending our fellow humans who are under attack. We must speak up and act out to protect those being persecuted. We cannot rest on the laurels of politeness.

Scream.

Protest.

Intervene.

It is the only way to end the tyranny and oppression.

Kirsten B. Caron, Cottonwood Heights