There is a Western idea that wickedness, when committed by a certain kind of person and in a certain kind of way, is worthy of being engaged with. And there are certain things that people said would never happen in this country. But they are in fact happening.
It is at times like these that we must counter lies with facts, repeatedly and unflaggingly. We must proclaim the greater truths of our equal humanity, of decency, of compassion. Every precious ideal must be reiterated, every obvious argument made, because an ugly idea left unchallenged begins to turn the color of normal. It does not have to be like this.
Now is the time for the media, on the left and the right, to educate and inform. To be nimble and alert, clear-eyed and skeptical, active rather than reactive. To make clear choices about what truly matters.
PEN America was founded in 1922 to stand at the intersection of literature and human rights—to protect free expression in the United States and around the world. To defend democracy and our free press in a country born from the idea of freedom.
Today, we need the media to elevate the art of questioning, to frame questions differently, and to be precise about the meanings of words.
Things that were recently pushed to the corners of America’s political space—overt racism, anti-Semitism, glaring misogyny, anti-intellectualism—are once again creeping to the center. We will not stand by and watch. Now is the time to talk about what we are actually talking about.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie