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I’m not supposed to say this, but: All lives matter.
In my old age, I feel this more keenly, every day. That life is precious, fragile, and finite. And when it’s taken, it’s over. Extinguished. Gone.
Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed in police confrontations for, what appears to me, no good reason. And five Dallas officers were killed by a mad man in retaliation for … No good reason.
And now, all of these people are dead. Extinguished. Gone. Their families suffering. And we have no good leadership to guide us through.
We have a President who likes to black-splain to white America why marches and riots are happening. He told a summit of police officers that he is their “best hope.” We have a Republican candidate who promises to make America “safe again.” As if one man can will it into being. Didn’t we just do that? Vote for a man who believed that, by his example, he could will all good things into being?
What we need is each other. To join in solidarity. To recognize that, yes, there is a divide, a disparity, in how citizens are treated by the powers that be. Every black person in America has experienced it, including myself. A new Harvard study confirms that African Americans get roughed up by cops more often. The divide, the disparity, is real.
But if we’re being honest, we also know that many good people, including white people, are friends and champions in the project called “life.”
Last week, I stayed with friends, and spent most of the time playing with their seven year old, red headed twins. A boy and girl. They roughhoused with me, climbed all over me, and made sure to sit next to me, every day, at lunch. They were exhausting! And as they were winding down, getting ready for bed, they each curled up next to me on the couch for just a little bit more love and attention. It never occurred to any of us that we were of different races. We just cuddled. It would break my heart if they were told anything else.
I’m not supposed to say this, but in my heart I believe social equality will only be achieved when we recognize that all lives matter. The kid who does dumb stuff could be your son. Let’s face it, he’s been your son. The cop who suits up for work could be your dad or mom. My dad suited up every day for work. And my mom always had his work shirts cleaned, pressed, and ready to go.
We’re fellow citizens. Neighbors and friends. We’re each other.
Easier said, than lived, I know. But it’s our duty to try.
Our future matters.Published in