When it comes to civil rights activism, the thing that confuses/angers me the most is that not everyone is on the same page. Namely, how non-Black and non-PoC individuals are content to drink in the nosebleeds or obstruct passively from the sidelines. And when the field is taken often times it is with a bout of “Whataboutism”.
“This is a protest”: Black and White photo of MLK
“This is a crime”: Color photos of looting
“See the difference?” (not posting the picture because I don’t want to give clicks and reposts)
Yes. But do you want to know what else I see?
From the past, I see people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s marching so that their children and all those that follow them don’t need to fight the same battles. From the present, I see people who are opportunistic. They don’t care at all about justice. They are using it as a cover to seize what they covet. They indulge their avarice and use the protests as a scapegoat.
But do you want to hear what I know? Too bad. I’m telling you anyhow.
Martin Luther King, Jr. marched 50 years ago, circa 1963. Sure, Jim Crow was legally abolished and voting rights for Black America soon followed. But not every minority group held the same rights. There was more progress to be had and more equality to be meted out. Substantial progress was made until recently. But now, those original marchers are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s if they’re still alive at all. They have to watch as the banners under which they stood have to be picked up by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. That was the whole blasted reason why they stood up in the first place. For change. Peace. Prosperity for their descendants. So their descendants didn’t need to fight. Instead, we have fear. Apathy. We have to continue to prove that we are worthy of human consideration. We have to convince people that death is unjust. Technology now lets us show the truth that has persisted. And only if it meets a narrow band of criteria is the injustice oh-so-magnanimously (<sarcasm) given credence.
I'm young, but I'm tired. I've seen that the world is messed up for more than a quarter-century now. Nothing works.
It doesn't matter how nicely I dress.
It doesn't matter how verbose and well-enunciated my speech is.
It doesn't matter if I am a CEO, soldier, or civilian.
It doesn't matter if I vote.
It doesn't matter if I cry out for justice. It doesn't matter how many echo my howling.
The Civil Rights Movement didn't end. It expanded. People who don't want me to live freely are completely content with the fact that I am afraid in this country. They want to push me down further. They want their sense of the old empire. Those that do not serve to be silenced.
deep breath followed by a long sigh
Think of World War II veterans. Do you think they’re happy considering they went halfway around the world to end the Nazi regime only to see American-raised Nazis in their own country in their twilight years? If they had the vim, vigor, and vitality of their younger selves, how much anger do you think they would have?
Is it so unreasonable then that a community, making no progress after half a century, has anything left but pain, rage, and sorrow?
If your focus is the looting… if you think THAT is the true tragedy and what is worth wagging a finger of shame about… BLEEDING FINE. You don’t want looting? Stop the protests. How do you stop the protests? Stop police from using deadly and unbalanced force on people who are not being forceful at all. Be with us in our agony. Shout with us. Vote with us. Do something besides kicking back and being holier than thou. (Normally I’d opt for absolute politeness, but I am genuinely raging, so a little needs to make it through.) Help me/us feel at ease in this country and you don’t have to worry about an insured corporate outlet getting ransacked. Join with us so that the inciting incident, an unjust death, doesn’t happen again. Ever.
Until I feel like justice can be done on my behalf, I will not live with a measure of true peace.
As I close my eyes to sleep
I entreat My Queen my crown to keep
And if Death’s Kiss my soul does take
I entreat My Love to rule in my wake
To view the world from atop a spire
Two hearts as one fused by immortal fire
In face of light, of rain and thunder
Nothing in Creation able to rend asunder
Stars shine high casting ceaseless Light
Forces able to withstand Night
Under eyes divine like The Sisters Three
The Eternal End, So Mote It Be
Occasionally I am moved to wax poetic on social media. In an effort to bring all such efforts together, I’ll start posting them here as come across them again. Shortly, I will share the one I found today.
Mirror, Mirror, In the Dark
To light a fire I need a spark
I need a candle to light the way
To see me to the break of day
The path I walk, on hidden ground
The air, too cold to feel around
In fear, I work to make it bright
To grant shelter, warmth, and light
To see me to my humble goal
I ignite a bit of my precious soul
For an instant, in a flash
The Mirror gleams, and then a crash
To broken fragments do I reach
The pieces still do lessons teach
An edge too sharp breeds a wicked cut
A surge of pain to break the minds’ old rut
From the wound a gout of blood
And from the eyes, tears fall and flood
The easy answer now broke apart
To be pieced together with a solemn heart
Because Mirror, for an instant I could see
The answer revealed was no more than Me
I see myself as one of the worse types of people: One who buries their head in light of the ills of the world. Problems seem so massive. Corruption is rampant. Violence is as enduring a cultural trait as understanding is for others. This is a lack of respect, seemingly no desire to bridge gaps on a large scale. It has worn on me all my life and I feel diminished that it still stands.
Even when I feel drowned by the tide I still myself. My resources are negligible. My reach is finite. But I do what I can. I show love, respect, and understanding to children in the hope that they spread it in the world after I am gone. If I have the means to help those that cross my path I do. I try to swiftly settle debts and problems that come my way. I feel it is… not enough. But it is what I can do.
I scream. My heart breaks. But one cannot force peace. So I cultivate the fields as I can. Hope. Love. Truth. Balance. In the infinite darkness, I will be Light.
(originally written November 15, 2015)
National Novel Writing Month has been in full swing. So have I, to be honest, which is why I didn’t jump right on it. I aim to average 2,000 words a day. If I can meet that I have just enough time for the 50,000 goal. Ordinarily I like to keep my buffer days spread throughout the month for when I need a break or for feasting. Such is life that they were used up front. I am not overly concerned with not meeting the goals. I have been writing consistently, and will keep at it. I do think I will change my monthly schedule up.
For now, food and rest. Tomorrow will be the first of many busy days.