It is the longest night of the year. Literally and figuratively.
As a nation, we are experiencing a national, dark night of the soul.
In a time like this— when corporations are people, and their influence in the electoral process has taken political representation away from the people, empowering the biggest money donors and their agendas, leaving citizens without a voice,
in a time like this— when 41% of the world’s wealth is in the hands 1% of the people and “a new report released by the World Economic Forum, ranks rising inequality as the top trend facing the globe in 2015 ” (1), and the poor are getting poorer,
in a time like this— when racism and inequality have their smoldering embers fanned into roaring flames across the country, due in part to the deaths of three black men Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of three white men, and when one jury and two grand juries neither convict, nor indict the white neighborhood watchman nor white police officers for the deaths of the three men,
in a time like this— when citizens in cities across the country demonstrate against racism and police brutality, when medical students at Columbia, Brown and Yale Universities stage die-ins to protest racism and police brutality, and congressional staffers walk out of their jobs to stage a silent protest against the same, on the capitol steps with their hands raised,
in a time like this—when protests turned violent in Ferguson and businesses were destroyed, fires were set, and a peaceful protest in Berkley was turned into a melee by a splinter group of masked looters, smashing windows, looting stores and injuring police officers,
in a time like this—when two police officers were gunned down while sitting in their car on duty in NYC by a black man, who shot his girlfriend and was on a hunting expedition for white police officers to even the score,
in a time like this—when there has been a 31% increase of the deaths of police officers on the job from the same time last year and “Firearms were used in 69 percent of the nation’s murders, 40 percent of robberies, and 21.6 percent of aggravated assaults.” (2)
in a time like this—”The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,501,043, … and… there were an estimated 79,770 rapes (legacy definition) reported to law enforcement.”(ibid)
in a time like this—we have to stop. On this, darkest, longest night of the year, we need stop to look deep within ourselves an Americans, beyond race, gender, sexual orientation and political affiliation to our common humanity.
In a time like this we have to ask, what are we doing to each other? We have to find a way to turn down the rhetoric and get the the heart of these difficult, vital issues and work together to find real solutions if we are to survive as families, neighborhoods, cities, a society, a nation and a species.
We have some really big issues to solve together if our children and their children’s children are going to be able to thrive. How can we ever hope to solve global warming, environmental pollution, world hunger, genocide, war, nuclear threats, find cures for diseases like Ebola, Cancer and AIDS if we can’t sit down at the table and respect one another?
We have to craft a modern day Round Table, where everyone can be heard, and progress can be made. We have to stop listening to pundits argue on the various news channels as they inflame the issues further. Eric Deggan wrote for NPR on the news coverage of recent months,
” . . .Trying to talk about systemic racial issues during a crisis is always much harder. Real progress on racial issues happens when people thoughtfully consider perspectives different from their own — and that’s much tougher in a crisis.. . . In truth, this study is the starting point of a conversation that should include the effects of poverty, urban gangs, aggressive drug enforcement and more. But when people are trying to make a point, such detailed discussion is often left behind. Cable news has sped up the path from news reporting to punditry with disastrous results.” (3)
We have to find a way to talk to each other. People need to have confidence in law enforcement. The officers need to be just in their dealings with citizens and they need to know that the people have a stake in their well being also. One hand has to help the other.
Please, please stop the blood shed. As Mahatma Ghandi, a leader in non violent revolution once said, ” A eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” There is no way through the darkness but to move forward together, toward a new dawn. We have defeated dangerous enemies together in the past, let’s defeat the enemies within together and save our children and our future.