Some 11th-hour thoughts from Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic:
As I sat in the audience two years ago and listened to Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech at the John Jay Justice awards, I took some notes so that I wouldn’t forget what he said. His words are particularly important today. Here is my version of what he said.
‘What does it all mean? What does it all mean? Words matter. Words move men. In the face of evil let us speak let us not remain silent. Silence equalled death for so many. Let us show gratitude. Gratitude everyday for being here. Let us smile. We are responsible to one another and for one another. What does it all mean. It’s ok not to know but it is best to be grateful for what we do know and not be blasé about this existence. Be moved. Live. Ask the tough questions. And speak up for justice.’
Donald Trump’s words do matter and they can change people and move people. In fact, they have. The words of another man took away Wiesel’s entire family and the families of so many others. It did happen, it could happen again. Let us not let ignore the words right in front of us in 2016 and let anyone take away or send away our many beautiful diverse families. Let us not deem political correctness or decency or politeness or kindness to be extinct. Let’s not let them con us into becoming that which we are not. I won’t stay silent. I’m with her.