I quote, il miglior fabbro, yet again:
Long, too long America
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys
and prosperity only,
But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing,
grappling with direst fate and recoiling not
And now to conceive and show to the world what your
children en-masse really are…
So here we are, going through a pandemic as well as coming to terms with old wounds bleeding out, decades of neglect rearing their face. I am with the protesters even now, as I observe curfew. I am with them in anguish and anger, with them in heart and spirit.
Most of us, by marching–by being present, by witnessing–seek to continue to bring injustices to the forefront of our collective consciousness. We long for a semblance of justice, we long to be heard, we yearn for change in our lifetime. We also know that the world is listening. Our protests have spread to cities not just across our country but abroad as well.
An unfortunate outcome has been the rioting and the looting, the mob mentality seeping through. What has been the most obvious to me so far, however, has been the absence of political leaders and leaders of faith marching alongside and taking charge of making sure that marches are productive and not destructive. There have been no high profile leaders that I know of being activists on the ground.
How on earth do you expect us to vote for you if we do not see you in the trenches with us? How do you expect your message to resonate if you cannot speak our language? Here we are having to deal with a hater in the White House for what seems an eternity–these long 4 years–someone who is not really a president of the people but a preacher of hate, a figure so divisive that his presence, compounded with the effects on the working class of the current pandemic, has our blood boiling over. Enough is finally enough!
And where are our faith leaders–those not hiding behind the racist facade that Trump easily feeds them (leaders whom Christ himself would call pharisees.) I have not seen any of our faith leaders marching or organizing and leading the march towards productive acts in speeches or voter registrations. Where is Stacy Abrams, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren? And faith leaders–from Ebenezer Church to Lutheran Churches to Mosques and Synagogues–do not tell me that you are too busy preparing for an in person service during this pandemic: your speeches online or to the press will not do. Are you afraid to show up and be counted?
And Mr. Biden, your interviews mean nothing if you are not behind the scenes making sure that all of this energy is channeled more towards good and positive action than destructive behaviors. Kudos to the police chief who engaged protesters and marched with them–how is that for courage, dialogue, and subversive act of leadership? Our leaders need to know that their absence makes it worse not just for the protesters but for the police as well. President Obama, news flash, yea you are not president anymore, but you need to come out of the shadows at this time, and ubiquitously. Make us see that your past warriorship for peace and justice was real and that this desire still runs through your veins. You are America.
The country is so ready, more than you know. Your view is clouded by the conversant culture that you participate in. Whether this culture is dismissive of sorts and tries to normalize the situation of Trump’s actions with this same dismissiveness, resignation, humor, or a combination of those. Or with the culture that believes that we should only work with the political electoral systems in place. Or with the culture that whispers that we deserve it because we did not win the White House and that we must be in the minority. Well guess what, if all of us would speak out, would show up, would be present, would bear witness, we would drown out all the hate from MAGA and Trump. We would open eyes from both parties that this, this Trump thing, we never really signed up for. Whether it starts with Dorsey and Taylor Swift stepping up to add to the voices stepping up daily–from news announcers to political pundits to educational leaders. The movement is just starting. Those of you with thousands of followers owe it to the rest of us to step up and speak out because I KNOW that we are in the majority and our African American brothers and sisters need us now more than ever,
So make these protests count–speak up, show up, be true. All that America stands for is riding on your simple public concerted acts. Make this movement a drive to get people registered to vote and to participate in the many ways that everyone can in this great informational and connected democracy of ours. This is not a Republican thing nor a Democratic one, it is an American one. The time is now.