Monday, June 19, 2017

Behaving Like Children

It's been one of those weeks of news for which I felt like hiding under the covers and watching cat videos. It's rough to stick with the protesting I think is so necessary. Has it been rough for all of you?
Seriously people, do we have any decency left?

People died because a landlord was too fucking cheap to install a sprinkler system in his building. Babies were thrown out of windows in desperation. Poor people lived in that building, people who didn't have the resources to fight back and demand their rights.

Philando Castile, a beloved black man died because a police officer wasn't willing to run through proper procedures when making a police stop in Minneapolis. There was video of the police officer gunning Castile down, yet the officer got off scot-free.

Someone detonated a homemade bomb at a concert full of children in Manchester. (Maybe that was last week.)

There were stabbings in London today, a car that plowed into pedestrians near the Finsbury Park Mosque yesterday.

There were shootings at a baseball field in D.C. Seriously, shooting people at a baseball game?

In Portland, two men were killed defending girls who happened to be Muslim. When is it that any girls should be harassed? Oh, right. We're not done harassing girls either. Muslim girls have it extra hard.

Is the whole world going crazy? People, there are some very real limitations to our freedom of speech that includes not killing people. Why do some of us keep forgetting that?

The other day, someone on Facebook asked whether or not peaceful protest is working. I wrote that I wasn't sure. It's hard to feel any change when protesting peacefully. The opposition doesn't seem to pay much attention. Oh, I had one guy yell at the group I was in during a protest. It was the protest for truth. I guess the guy couldn't handle the truth. I even heard that millions of Muslims marched against ISIS last week and news in the U.S. didn't even cover it. The photos I saw were incredible, made the Women's March look like small potatoes. But did it accomplish anything?

Civil disobedience is hard to maintain, especially when the other side has money, guns, and power.

I was very young when Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. both protested for civil rights. My parents said that Malcolm X, who condoned violence, was the lesser of the two men. But it was so hard for me to watch the children marching for Martin Luther King, Jr. who were attacked with dogs and sprayed with fire hoses. Is that really what Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted, for children to take the brunt of the force?

The little girls wore pleated skirts and white shirts and the boys wore white shirts and ties. Many of them were my age. I never looked that clean. They were so well-behaved. I never behaved that well. I'm telling you that it was hard to watch those kids being assaulted when I was a kid. Now that I'm a mom, it is even harder to watch when children are assaulted or killed. Those newsreels held power.

Why can't we use vigorous and healthy debate instead of using violence?

Right. It is getting harder to see any tangible results of debate. I remember hearing Malcolm X say there wouldn't be change if the civil rights protests stayed peaceful. I remember thinking that he might be right.

But doesn't that make us as bad as them when we resort to violence?

So, I know it's hard to keep up the energy of protesting peacefully. There are so many areas to protest these days: the Russian assault on our democracy, the rights of people to 'drive while black,' truth and transparency in our government, protection of Muslims, the secret ACHA, the reduction in funding to the EPA and the National Parks, Black Lives Matter, supporting Syrian refugees, women's right not to be grabbed and to earn equal pay, and don't forget climate change. We might all lose if we ignore climate change.

The whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. The least we can do is behave like the black children who protested for their civil rights in the 1960s.

Thank you for listening, jules


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