Season of Change
Today, on this first day of fall, I wish and pray for a season of change. I'm not talking about the leaves changing color, your stance on leggings being publicly appropriate, or even the joy that pumpkin flavored things bring to our country ...
I'm talking real, tangible, life changing, change.
I kept my mouth shut about the kneeling football player. My belief was that he was peacefully protesting a real issue. A lot of people were offended by it. I thought the world had "bigger fish to fry" with our issues - Syrian refugees being a focal point of my heart's worries. But I also recognized that our country is increasingly divided, and maybe the simple act of not saluting the flag or holding a heart during our country's anthem was enough to outrage (as it truly did) many Americans. Maybe I didn't agree with the outrage, but I did try and understand it.
And not that I am the beacon of change and hope or some great creature that will inspire the world - but I do think actions, simple actions, can lead to big change. I didn't get mad at the NFL boycott memes (okay, maybe I rolled my eyes a few times) - I instead made myself see it from both perspectives. This is something I try to do regularly, and sometimes it is ... impossible. But I think it's something we should all try to do - take the blinders off and look at the whole story, not just the one side.
For this season of change, I want us to learn to respect one another. To tolerate one another. To stop hollering how bad the other side is. It's not about red or blue or him or her. It's about us, all of us. Being real life people, with real life problems, living in a world that is on the brink of self destruction. We can do better. I think we all agree on this.
I am at a loss for words about (yet another) police shooting. Another black man has lost his life for seemingly no reason. I feel sick when I think about how "new" this issue is in my life. New, because I'm just really seeing it. It destroys me when I think of how many others have endured this, and for how long, with absolutely no footage to make us question the authorities. It upsets me even more that even WITH footage, we are able to remain divided.
When a teacher abuses power and molests a student, we all can unify that the teacher was sick - we rally for the victim, and we recognize that one corrupt teacher does not mean that we think all teachers are bad. For some reason, this does not apply to police officers abusing power. But it needs to. When a police officer shoots a man who has his hands up, who has broken no laws, and he dies ... we need to rally behind the victim. All of us. Talking about police brutality or white privilege is somehow more taboo than dead and innocent black life.
If my family woke in the middle of the night to a home invasion - if we realized somebody was in our house, and we shot them and they died ... we would be investigated. There have been countless stories like this - where a homeowner ends up in jail for manslaughter. We jail people who shoot other people who were breaking into their homes. Why are police officers exempt to this same kind of investigation? Why are they put on paid leave? Why isn't America losing their mind over this having happened - AGAIN?
I reiterate that I do not think all police officers are bad. But I also don't think they're all good. (Which could be said about any group of people - it could actually be said about ALL people.) And these videos - these lives that have been lost - they deserve much more outrage than the kneeling football player provoked.
The protesting is awful. But can you not sympathize or empathize with why it is happening? If you and yours were being consistently squashed out, wouldn't you lose your mind and sound off and attempt to bring justice? If your community was being extinguished, would you not desperately try to bring attention the issue? While I don't support violence of any kind, I can absolutely recognize the source and motive behind these violent protests.
We need change.
Take the politics out. Take the sides out. Look at the people around you - different and alike. Really, look at them. These are people. We all have endured good and bad, happy and sad. We have families and friends and stories tucked safely into our memories and hearts. We are people; humans ... and our lives are more valuable than our politics, our skin color, our beliefs.
And while this will seem like a kitschy way to end my blog - with silly autumn analogies - I mean every word. I hope that as the leaves fall, our walls crumble too. As the temperature cools, I hope our hearts will warm to others. As we near the freeze, I hope we can ice out hate. I hope for much change in this new season.