For several weeks, I haven’t written an opinion column. It’s not that I haven’t had things to say; it’s that sometimes it’s best to sit back and observe and let others speak out. Other times, it’s best to stand up and make yourself heard.

The national and international news we see — and even the chaos threatening our own state — is very distressing to say the least.

There will always be differences of opinion while we live in an imperfect world, but when our nation is threatened, when our borders are trampled with impunity, when the lives of the unborn and defenseless are seen as cheap and expendable, we must dissent.

The problem is, we also live in an era when free speech is under attack. Live Oak County resident Roberta Dobie had her posts censored on Facebook because she didn’t march in line with their idea of political correctness, and that’s just one example. She actually received a temporary ban. That’s not right, and it goes too far in trying to control people. When the free marketplace of ideas comes under attack – especially when it’s not someone expressing violent or harmful ideas – we have reached a very disturbing environment in our nation.

When I stand and say the pledge of allegiance, the only word that truly gives me pause is “indivisible.” Our country is very divided, and is unity at all costs really in our best interest? We have been able to come together and overcome differences so often, but for the first time in around 160 or so years, the differences seem almost irreconcilable.

It’s too bad we don’t currently have visionaries like Martin Luther King Jr. speaking common sense, reconciliation and appealing to the better angels of our natures. Maybe we do have a few, but their messages are being drowned out by those insisting on getting their way and silencing those who disagree with them.

When tyranny threatens at home and danger is stirred up because of perceived U.S. impotence by those who hate us, being silent is not an option.

Then there’s the border crisis which has been painful for people in our area. I’ve heard plenty from local law enforcement officers about the impact this is having throughout our region and beyond. With daily reports of bailouts, property damage or destruction, and the threatening possibility of even worse things to come, we have to stand together to preserve the things we hold dear –  lives, liberty, the ability to live in a secure land free from threats. Some are unwilling or unable to protect what we hold dear, but those who are willing and able definitely hold the key to preserving our land.

My philosophy in the news business is to try to focus on the positives, because there is enough negative in the world. So highlighting the good things in our communities is a welcome relief from the world’s storms. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the bad things and just hope they will go away. We have to stand together for what’s right, even though there may be a cost. There will be an even higher cost in not speaking out.

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