Two nights ago, I wrote this about the insanity in Ferguson:
I have no idea what to do with the news of a shooting and civil unrest and police insanity in Ferguson. I just don’t. I have no idea what it’s like to live in fear that my boys will be shot, unarmed, just because of who they are. And I have no idea what to do with people who assume that grotesque uses of police force are ever justified. I simply don’t know what to do with police wearing camo who refuse to hear peaceful protesters, and instead aim assault rifles at them from tanks. (What are they camouflaged for? They’re in a town. On streets. There are no fatigues for that. Stop hiding as though you’re in the freaking jungle. Put on your blues and walk your beat like a proper, compassionate, protect-and-serve cop.)
So I’ve compartmentalized my “I don’t know” into a tight, painful pit in my chest, and carried it around for several days. And it’s nothing compared with what millions carry, including people in communities who know their town, state, and country don’t care about them. So I swallow hard and move on.
But I couldn’t bear to post those unfinished thoughts, especially when they then led, in my draft, to a long list of the things causing me serious existential pain right now.
It’s obscene, I think, to ramble on about the joys and the pain in my life while the very foundation on which our society is based falls apart. I have no right to blog when people are being brutalized.
So tonight’s shift, wherein social media regales the world with the monumental difference between fear and communication, between criminalizing speech versus hearing protestors, between waging war within cities and showing compassion within communities, has begun the process of healing.
Not healing entirely. But cleaning off the wounds enough that we can start looking, and really seeing, what is going on in our country.
Changing the leadership from assault to engagement has made Ferguson feel safer tonight.
What are we going to do to make the rest of the country safer? More engaged? More honest about tensions? More open to solutions?
We need to talk about assumptions. We need to talk about law, rights, and enforcement. We need to talk about race, poverty, representation, and listening.
Where do we go from here?