Open Letter To the Barbarians From the Literate

Dear Barbarians,

This is very difficult for me to write, perhaps insanely so, as you seem unable or unwilling to read. I guess this letter is not so much for you as it is for those literate individuals who I’d like to see step up their game when it comes to guarding the gates.

Barbarians: the most important thing I want to say to you is that we know you’re here. We don’t think that you’re “coming”. We don’t think that you’re “approaching”. We don’t think that you’re “closing in”. We know that you’re here, among us. And yet we’re not afraid.

I also want you to know that we know you can win. You’ve won time and time again. You probably don’t know this, but it’s true.

We know this because we are the ones who recorded it in the hopes that we might learn from our mistakes.

Here’s the main point: You seem to think you are entitled to keep everything you brought with you when you came to our home. You want to keep your clothes. You want to keep your food. You want to keep your language. You want to keep your gods. You want to keep your behavior. You want to keep your government. You want to keep your attitudes. You want to keep your family name. You want to keep, keep, keep, keep.

We don’t want anything. Instead, we hope. And here’s our hope: We hope that you will see that there is something greater to be gained than merely keeping what you already possess. We believe this because we are the group that chose to give up, chose to release, chose to exchange, chose to trade, chose to adopt, chose to change. Perhaps the better way to say it is that we are the group that chose to learn. Will you join us? Will you let us teach you? Will you learn the better way? Will you learn our way?

We believe you can. And we hope you will.

But we’re not going to force you. That’s your way–it always has been and it always will be.

The Literate

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