Sunday, May 31, 2020

Thoughts on a Riot

This is a political post. 

First, I don't condone violence and looting. Primarily because I don't want violence used against me nor do I want my stuff taken. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So I don't condone the violence and the looting.

But I understand. 
These black men protect an officer during the unrest.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Black people have been peacefully marching and protesting for decades now, and as modern technology has allowed us to capture and share for all the world to see the indignities we've been reporting that we've been facing since the end of the Civil War the need for action feels more urgent. These things based in racism are not our imagination. These things are happening. And we've all seen the increase in the documentation of these flagrant abuses in the past few years. It's clear evidence. Less open to interpretation, although some still try. In the case of George Floyd, there was evidence of his cooperation with the police while being arrested for passing a bad check. Of him being held down after he'd already been secured in handcuffs. Of the other police officers joking as their colleague murdered a man in the street. Slowly and painfully. George Floyd did what he was supposed to, what was expected, what was advised.... and still, here we are.

That made it especially troubling when the local district attorney said they needed more investigation before he could bring charges. Which was confusing, because every law enforcement official who wandered in front of a camera indicated that what the officer did violated all the protocols of any kind of restraint training. We KNOW there are people who are arrested on suspicion, mere suspicion. There was clear video evidence of the actions taken. It's not unusual for additional charges to be brought after an individual is in custody. So what was missing? I'm really curious to know exactly what they were looking for, aren't you?

Because if they had instructed the officers be taken into custody immediately after the city fired them, all of this protest would have been less likely to have happened.

That's just my opinion.

So, for the rioting and looting, I understand. I don't condone it or support it, but I understand.

Every few weeks it seems we add to the list a new name. Maybe they were jogging. Maybe they were bird watching. Maybe they rolled through a stop sign. Maybe they were asleep in their own home. But they're black, and alive and apparently that's enough. Their friends and families mourn them. We discuss them and ask for justice. And far too often those who took the lives of another are exempted from justice because..., well, pick your reason. But remember whatever that exemption might be it would not be afforded to the current victim if the situations were reversed. It's a terrible cycle that seems to be on endless loop.

And as for the circumstances surrounding the rioting and the looting, well, it's complicated. The same proliferation of video that revealed the outrageous behavior that got us here is also revealing that the flashpoints that drive the crowd MAY be artificial. And pushed the crowd stumbles, and a body in motion stays in motion. The outrage they'd been suppressing releases. And their act becomes in effect a society howling in pain and frustration of the deprivation of basic respect and dignity. 

So I don't condone or support violence or looting. But I understand.

Photo By Ryan Vizzions
Now, I know this won't get far, but to those questioning how to answer this, here is my suggestion:

The mayors of those cities in unrest need to announce today that they are meeting with community leaders to address the problems. Pick a day, a week or so from now and set the meeting. They should know who the community leaders are, but there probably need to be three or four new voices in there as well. And it should be televised, on public access or the local channel or whatever. The days of quiet meetings behind closed doors on these larger issues are over for the minute. The the mayor and the city officers or city council should go and LISTEN. Not explain, not talk, not justify, but LISTEN to the those people that they were elected to lead. Today there seems to be a desperate need of elected officials to play to their base, almost exclusively, seemingly forgetting that they've been elected to lead not just people who voted for them, but everybody. Listen, take notes, answer questions. And this doesn't need to be one meeting, or two meetings, but a series of meetings. Each televised and advertised, open to the public for viewing and comment.

Around the third or fifth meeting the mayor should start asking questions, addressing concerns and hashing out solutions. Real implementable solutions. And then, with the help of the city officials or council, IMPLEMENT THOSE SOLUTIONS.

If this listening and change occurred after peaceful protests, then there wouldn't be violent protests. If there were actual systemic change after people knelt, or marched, or rallied, or at least honest attempts, then there wouldn't be instances where people feel the rage necessary to riot and loot.

One would have thought that this was obvious.

And it means that maybe next time someone decides to march peacefully, our leaders will come out to engage them and hear their concerns instead of...whatever it is they're doing now.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

I'm tired

Here we are again. Again.

How much are we as a people supposed to endure? Damn. Just Damn.

George Floyd. He shouldn't have been treated that way. That's all I got.

I'm just so tired.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Long Blank

Let the light see the dark of me
as the mind churns
the new fable
Morning fades
and I must face down
the long blank page
white with hope
white with distance
white with possibility
white as the dream it aspires to contain
it is all and nothing
and will contain all and everything
stories half conceived
but fully written
wisps of thought
conjured from the fingertips
onto the paper
if only to clear head space
for the next deluge
even composed of ether
the bits and bites
the page awaits my effort
rough or refined
it comes unbidden
and I am compelled to record
the words
they arise