Letter to the Editor

We're better than this

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It took me a while to find the words to express how I was feeling about what happened in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and St. Anthony, but yesterday afternoon I posted some of my thoughts on Facebook. It occurs to me this morning that not all of you are followers of my page, so I'd like to share with you here.

If you were as effected by everything that happened this week as I was, I hope you're healing today. And I hope we can come together as a community to find solutions to the things that are creating division among us. More on that later. In the mean time...

I'm sitting here at my desk, trying to find words for what I'm feeling right now. Sorrow, anger, disgust, fear, outrage, confusion, anguish, shame, and helplessness all come to mind. What has happened to our country? When did we become a nation full of hate, fear, and violence? It is as if we have devolved into a country that I barely recognize. Instead of celebrating our wonderful diversity, we have become a country of division.

I mourn for the two men who were murdered this past week and those whose lives were taken before them by the people who were sworn to protect us. I mourn for the law enforcement officers who were murdered in Dallas yesterday while they peacefully did their job. I mourn for our country because I know that we are better than this.

Violence is not the answer. Violence is never the answer. You can't fight hate with hate. You can only fight hate with love. Love trumps hate.

Over the last few years, I've watched with disgust and horror as people in power and in the public eye have used language that has been increasingly divisive and racist. Words and phrases that weren't considered to be acceptable in the past have somehow become commonplace. The examples are too numerous to mention, but particularly disturbing to me is when political leaders state that they feel "profiling" based on race is somehow an acceptable practice. It's not. And saying that it is pours gasoline on the "otherization" fire.

The question I think we're all wrestling with is, why is this happening? How is it that so many of us have come to accept, and sometimes even excuse, implied or even blatant racism? It's truly disturbing, and yes, systemic.

Why are people of color more likely to be pulled over for a minor traffic violation? Why are people of color disproportionately arrested and incarcerated? Why are people of color more likely to be a victim of police brutality? Why are people of color less likely to receive adequate medical care? The answer to this is that we have allowed the "otherization" of our fellow citizens. Too many of our fellow citizens turn a blind eye when public figures make offensive comments. And the media encourages this behavior because all that seems to matter to far too many of them is ratings and clicks and page-views. Offensive behavior that used to be deemed unacceptable is all too often rewarded with attention. Or in some cases, re-election.

This needs to stop.

I do still have hope. I have hope because I know that there are many good people who are just as disgusted with what is happening as I am, and who stand with me in saying, "enough is enough." We will no longer accept race baiting. We will no longer accept demonizing. We will no longer accept systemic injustice. We will no longer accept violence towards our friends, family, and neighbors. We stand together in our belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - and justice - "for all."