Fill in the blank in this popular saying:
“Silence is _________.”
I would wager that if you are of my parents’ generation, an early Boomer or older, you answered “golden.” The adage conjures images of whispering in libraries and children being seen, but not heard. My children’s generation and the one immediately preceding it, the millennial and post-millennial cohorts, answered “assent.” They disdain silence, because it is the posture of those who sit on the sidelines while racism, sexual assault, environmental destruction and economic exploitation proceed unchecked. One generation’s gold is another’s guilt.
I am in my late forties, a Gen-Xer stuck in the sandwich between these two generations, paralyzed into involuntary silence by not knowing what to say, how to say it or whether anyone wants to hear what I have to say to begin with. I feel golden and guilty all at once.