We have arrived at a series of stark moments in our national narrative.
Drones, climate-change-deniers, divesting fossil fuel investments, Tom Magliozzi, Francesca Lia Block, a friend’s new baby, and paying it forward at the holidays: these were some of the things I was writing about when I first drafted this post.
Yesterday’s announcement of the second non-indictment in a very few days, of a policeman who killed a young, unarmed black man on the streets of an American city was sufficiently astonishing to silence many of us, in fact to induce an actual state of shock, coming as it did in a case where the entire confrontation was videotaped and public, and the coroner had ruled the death a homicide.
I couldn’t write anything here after Ferguson, or again, after a 12 year old boy was shot dead by a Cleveland cop two seconds–not hyperbole, it’s also on video–after the cop pulled up to the scene.
These situations are not unrelated to the frankly schizophrenic man who was very nearly executed yesterday by the state of Texas–after being permitted to conduct his own, clearly delusional defense. Not unrelated to the 43 missing student teachers in Mexico, reportedly turned over by local corrupt police to narco-thugs whose drugs are aimed almost entirely at the streets of the US.
The hierarchy of value between one person’s life and another marbles our cultural narrative. And not one of us who lives here is exempt from responsibility.
Yesterday’s announcement has accelerated the building movement against police brutality, against the trivializing and contempt for black and brown lives, for the lives of people without privilege or power. As I write this, I am watching live footage of thousands of people marching through the streets of NYC–CNN says perhaps as many as 10,000.
Last night I listened to BBC radio, to accounts from all across the US of masses of people–old, young, brown, black, white, and every gender–taking to the streets peacefully but with determination, to demand a change.
My spirit still has laryngitis from the sheer violence of these losses and the sense of a teflon police force in this country to whom no charge can stick. But a fragile hope is in me too tonight, as so many people refuse to accept the death penalty for shoplifting, for selling bootleg merchandise, for walking the public streets while black.
Close-up footage now of a die-in on the streets of New York. Thank you for coming out to the streets. Thank you for demanding justice and accountability. Thank you for not accepting the despondent state of our national discourse.
Anyone’s loved one is mine, too. All lives matter.with love, sammy