It seems that the last month has been filled with bad news. And I am not talking about Ebola or ISIS or even the potential roll back of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I am speaking specifically about the election results and the grand jury decision to not indict the Ferguson police officer. At an all too frequent rate, we are seeing the progress of many decades eroded as our much celebrated gains in the judicial and electoral system are being lost.
I, like many of you, celebrated the election of Barack Obama as the first Black president in the history of the United States. And he has tried mightily to be a “game changer” given the hand he was dealt. Being called a liar, not an American, a racist, and not being up to the job has not deterred him from ending the War in Iraq, finding Osama Bin Laden, returning our country to financial stability, reducing unemployment and providing healthcare for tens of millions. He is rewarded not only with a low approval rate but a Congress that is populated in the majority with the greatest group of reactionaries ever assembled. It’s enough to make you want to quit.
Now comes the decision of the Ferguson Grand Jury to not indict the policer officer responsible for shooting Mike Brown. It was hard enough to take when George Zimmerman was acquitted for killing Trayvon Martin. The choking of Eric Garner in New York or some other incident of brutality seems to be reported daily. What is a young Black male supposed to think? It seems that our permissive view of gun ownership fueled by fear and misperceptions has made it open season on the shooting and taking of young black lives. It is often justified by the lament “I feared for my life”. If this is acceptable behavior, we are in trouble.
It seems like the only answer is to be in charge - To be in charge of the government, to be in charge of the courts, to be in charge of the police. Then we can fire or we can indict. We can veto. We can take Executive Action. Rather than quit, we are going to have to redouble our efforts. These boards, these General Assemblies, these Congresses are not serving us well. We can accept that they are in control of our lives or we can send some of these folks home with involuntary retirements. It is time to speak up. I still believe a majority of us (albeit currently slim) believe that all people matter. Truth crushed to the earth will rise again. It will not be easy but it is worth the fight. Our future depends upon it.