I had to write. As we watch people chased from the streets by the very people sworn to protect them, it would be foolish not to reflect on how this violence persists and the things we have not done to stop it. Tonight, I watched a fearful community try to make their voice heard.
I watched and read the polarized reactions of a large and diverse number of Americans. I watched buildings and police cars ignite at the hands of angry, frustrated, and scared people. I watched gas as it spread across the streets, entering the lungs of those lacking masks.
I watched protesters wave the flag of freedom a mere three days from Thanksgiving as they marched down the streets of Ferguson, Missouri towards a wall of riot shields and smoke canisters. I watched America struggle to make sense of a society plagued by a persistent history of violence, subjugation, and persecution.
How do we amend this canyon of inequality that has been eroded from our humanity? Different actions have been undertaken, of course.
Since the first ship full of humans and chains crossed the Atlantic, freedoms have been written, declarations made, laws enacted and repealed, people murdered, accusations placed, resentment nurtured, and an immoral and inhumane cycle of violence and blame created; a cycle that has resulted in a society fraught by fear, anger, hatred, and ignorance.
This culture is perpetuated by a media and a population that have become fixated on the seemingly juvenile and rarely accurate fact that there are two sides to every story.
Our society has been boiled down to a duality; conservative versus liberal, capitalist versus socialist, young versus old, rich versus poor, us versus them, white versus black.
Nobody is right and nobody is wrong. Discussions are based on the underlying assumption that every person is entitled to their own opinion, the value of fact has diminished, and debate is won through volume alone.
This gives the impression that, while there is a group of people that are calling for a change to a destructive system, there is also a group of equal support and merit that supports the status quo.
This is a false impression. The two sides are not of comparable merit; the American systems of governing and justice are remnants of a dark national past that requires recognition and active work to recover from.
When your friends are telling you that they are scared for their own safety and for the safety of their family, when they tell everyone they know to stay inside because they are scared of what might happen if they attempt to raise their voice, and when this fear is felt by not only your friends but by every person who shares their designation as a minority, you must listen.
There must come a time where we, as a society, realize the destructive problems that have become embedded into our culture and work actively and collaboratively to change the mindset of our country which desires to stand for so much better.