My fellow neighbors of Salem, I speak to you today after attending a speech made by Franklin Roosevelt, who has enlightened me on a many great factors missing from our town. He has stated that a society cannot properly function without the establishment of several freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom from fear. Considering the recent events that have transpired here, I believe I surprise no one when I say that we as a community require substantial improvement in implementing these freedoms.
We must be able to speak our minds, choose our own methods of prayer, and escape from the fear that confines us in our daily lives. Salem is not a free town as of now. No one here may speak their mind without fear of ridicule and persecution. Should a person attempt to defend himself, they are immediately thought to be lying due to basic speculation from another. How may a person call himself free to speak if no one will listen? This town cannot “place its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women” when there is no freedom to be found here!
As a town we cannot prosper if we cannot be heard and equally represented in this community. In several cases over the course of these trials, a young girl’s word was taken over mine numerous times. I had no say, no voice in what was happening to me. I had no freedom to reveal that Abigail had reason to accuse me, that she had a grudge against me. Mary Warren was too frightened to speak because of the pressure and oppression she received from Abigail. Even had she the power to speak, who’s to say if she would have been heard? There is no openness, no safety or comfort in this community.
If we as citizens do not have a right to speak our minds, who is to say we are truly free from any sort of tyranny? Roosevelt has said, “It is the simple basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. ” Clearly, we seem to have lost of our own voices and recognition of others’. However, how can we have the freedom to speak our minds when we live in fear of so much more in this town everyday? Roosevelt also stated in his speech, “… We oppose the greater conception – the moral order. ” We have lost all moral order in the wake of overwhelming fear.
Mass hysteria has taken over our town completely. We can no longer look at our neighbors the same way anymore, not after the baseless accusations that have flown about the community. We live now in fear, afraid of being the next one interrogated and thrown into jail. If “A good society is able to face the schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear,” we are surely to tear our own community apart soon. I myself was greatly fearful, for my own position was in jeopardy as well. Surely with a young girl who hates me taking the town by storm I’d be accused soon enough.
I was frightened for my sons and my husband. Little did anyone know that nothing that was being said was true! The entire situation was an escapade, child’s play, and yet the simple idea of witchcraft being present here was enough to send everyone reeling in distress. We mustn’t allow such simple ideas to alarm us to the point where we are hanging innocent people simply out of fear. Our lives must not be ruled by fear of others, in any aspect of our daily lives. One of those very aspects that should remain unaffected is our right as people to choose our own religion.
As quoted from Roosevelt, there is “… reedom of every person to worship God in his own way. ” I was criticized heavily for inconsistently attending church and not baptizing my youngest child. However, it is my husband’s and my own decision as to how we choose to worship. We have our own personal preference of how we wish to show our religious observance. As a community, we should be “working together in a friendly, civilized society”, not ridiculing each other over decisions that are personal to each and every individual. There should be no pressure for a person to dedicate himself to a practice that he does not wish to participate in.
However, here in Salem, my husband and I were said to be unfaithful and shameful, when we simply disagreed with the preaching that was occurring at that time, surely no reason for us to be interrogated and outcasts. Our town lacks desperately needed tolerance and acceptance, or we will never find peace with one another. There is evidently a need for reform in Salem, as I now understand. We lack a safe and open community, as our residents cannot speak their minds, cannot worship how they like, and cannot avoid living their lives in momentous fear of what may happen to them.
While one may argue that we the right to do or say as we please, we certainly cannot do so without fear of extreme consequence. We cannot go on like this. waiting for our problems to repair themselves. I adjure my fellow neighbors to no longer be afraid. Raise your voice and speak out for what you think, worship how you like, do not be afraid of what could happen, and I assure you that you will find a far happier, trusting community where everyone is truly free.