“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”, 1858, Abraham Lincoln
“This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal. . . This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible. . . To pursue our present course will involve the continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.”
(Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1968)
2014-15 Riots, killings, eruption of violence, police brutality, destruction of properties, countered by demonstrations, chanting, prayer, tears, despair, volunteers, citizen actions – surely a multi faceted, complex picture. With what lens did we view these scenarios? With what experiences, perspectives did we see and hear these moments of inhumanity and humanity as they played out in Ferguson, New York City, Baltimore? And it’s not over as evidenced by daily news coverage.
Numerous editorials and essays along with analytical and reflective pieces have been and are being written as thinking people wrestle with the eruption, disruption and destruction of so many lives. BLACK LIVES MATTER! I believe the wisdom of Martin L. King goes to the heart of the matter:
A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.
It is the desperate, suicidal cry of one who is so
fed up with the powerlessness of his cave existence
that he asserts that he would rather be dead than ignored.
These events are not isolated. They’re connected to a growing trend that includes an economic system that is out of control; that is, out of reach of 99% of us. Since this is the reality what, then, happens to our political system, our democratic values? Who participates in the economy? Who is shut out? What’s happening to jobs and why? Where do you stand on the trade bill currently being debated in Congress – the Trans-Pacific Partnership? There are no easy answers but citizen participation is definitely part of the puzzle!