Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Caught enough of Krasny's Forum show this morning to have it dominate my thoughts over the past hour ... .

The subject was the situation in Ferguson as those old wounds have been reopened, and the violence returned.

Just last night I watched coverage on CNN and learned of the continuing "ticketing for profit" practices that are still going on, adding to the festering of those old wounds.  But I also noticed the presence of a diversity of races on those streets and was reminded ... .

One of the most valuable lessons learned during the earlier versions of the Civil Rights struggles was -- I suppose because I was experiencing those struggles from the position of a middle class black living among enlightened white liberals in an otherwise hostile white community -- down through history there has always been good folks tryin' to get it right, and often at the risk of their own lives.

 One might start with the Quakers,  abolitionists, and John Brown.

In this morning's discussion there was a representative of Black Lives Matter -- the current version of the struggle -- and she was articulate, and clearly disheartened by the lack of progress being shown in the clashes between the black community and the police.  She defended the actions at the Bernie Sanders rally, and made the point that in the aftermath he made his first clear statements on the state of the persistent racial problems in the nation.  Attorney Eva Patterson, one of my all-times heroes, was her clear and present -- wise and gracious self -- giving voice to the voiceless.

The call-ins that joined the debate had one thing in common.  They were from people sympathetic to the cause of justice, but clearly expressing concern that the wrong tactics were being used by the Movement ("... why Bernie Sanders, he's one of the good guys'), and suggestions for how it should be done.  May I suggest that all responses -- if coming from a place of moral intent -- are needed.   There is not one correct way to respond to unreasonable and crippling injustices.  Corrective measures have many faces, and will draw many responses depending upon countless variables.

Maybe it's my age, but I find that my eyes are ever searching the television coverage for the racial makeup of the street demonstrations.  I see hope in the fact that the diversity is growing, and that here are the folks who, historically, have always been "tryin' to get it right," and in the chaos there is a lot of democracy being built.  There always is at such times.

Every generation has to rebuild democracy in its day.  We have a constitutionally-protected right to be wrong.  We also have a constitutionally-protected right to protest those wrongs in the belief that what is right will prevail.

Democracy is a process, and every citizen has the right and responsibility to participate in that
process in order to actualize it and keep it vibrant for the next generation.

That can be ugly at times if we neglect our duty to maintain an informed electorate, but it is the price we pay for freedom.

Building and keeping a coalition of those "tryin' to get it right" is of critical importance.  Our black lives may well depend upon it.

We cannot do it alone.  It is an American problem fueled by white supremacy, but mistakenly seen as a problem based purely in black inadequacy and criminality.  Until we recognize it for what it is, we'll continue to fail to find answers.

If my Sixties experiences have any validity at all, then I have to believe that those racially-diverse street demonstrators are doing the right thing by simply being there together showing that Black Lives Matter for the nation and the world to see.

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