Today, I feel it is a day full of sorrows too many to count, almost biblical in scope. Perhaps I exaggerate, but if so, not by much.
First we had the COVID-19, a lethal, easily spread viral pandemic, come to our shores as a result of poor health care reporting of its great many cases globally followed by high numbers of deaths, emanating from its country of origin, China, and misinformation or lack thereof. Perhaps I exaggerate, but if so, not by much.
This resulted in closing down the entire US economy and requiring people to shelter in place and wear face masks if they ventured out of their homes. An unintended consequence of managing the disease this way resulted in very high rates of unemployment, resulting in poverty, loss of tax revenues for municipalities, counties, states, and country coffers, requiring huge budgetary cuts, and potential loss of state and municipal jobs. Then, a week ago, due to a horrible mistake in practice on the job, a white police officer in Minneapolis was video taped killing a black man struggling to breathe by holding his knee on his neck while he suffocated, begging to be set free, for four minutes. A few weeks prior, two white men chased down a black man jogging through a neighborhood in their pick-up truck in Georgia, chasing him like he were a prey animal, shooting him to death. One of the men was a retired police officer, and the second man was his adult son. The heinous crime was also caught on videotape and like the case in Minneapolis, it was shown repeatedly on television. These events, probably influenced by the isolation of sheltering in place, triggered country wide urban rioting of the down-town areas of cities, throughout the United States. I have no doubt, the outcome of this will be devastating to the lives of so many Americans, probably the negative impacts will be spread far and wide. I do not have a crystal ball and truly do not know what the outcome will be. But I will say, this has demonstrated to me that the races still are not equal in America and they should be. They should have been over a century ago when President Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation. They should have been during the 1960s when the Civil Rights Laws were passed. We should have all listened to Martin Luther King and followed his example. I naively believed in my white suburban raised naivete that the races were equal. That shows how far off the mark I am. And, as a result that I got it so wrong, I am horrified and ashamed.
I do not have a crystal ball and truly do not know what the outcome will be. However, as I have said and written many times before and will continue to do so because I believe it, we are all members of the same human family, and as such, we all have dignity and worth. One person’s joy and sorrow is all of our joys and sorrow. Areas of profound disagreement should be negotiated and diffused by people with a vested interest or specially trained neutral arbitrators. We belong to the interconnected web of existence. Rioting destroys the property of everyone. The restoration of peace from rioting restores peace to all. Working together as members of the universal human and American families, I believe we can rebuild our country out of racism and white privilege, make room at the table for our family members of different races, and narrow the widened gaps that divide us. I hope my great sorrow today will be short lived.