I sat down a few minutes ago to write my blog and I feel tongue tied. Or should I say finger tied? What can I possibly write about the enormity of what’s going on? I see people holding up signs that say, “I can’t breathe,” in honor of the brutal police killing of George Floyd that was caught on tape. They’re defying curfews and they refuse to be silent. The world is in flames, the virus is changing our lives as we know it, and all we can do is hold our breaths (not each other’s hands) and be grateful we’re not living on the street. It’s hard to describe how this all feels. It brings to mind these Buffalo Springfield lyrics from the sixties about the Vietnam War:
There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear.
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware.
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
What is going down? What really gets my attention the most is that when I turn on the TV, it looks like something I’d seen before. It was Vietnam. Rodney King. The Gulf war. People are out in the streets going ballistic, burning and rioting and speaking out in an atmosphere of intense volatility. It has to take such courage for anyone to get out there and stand up for what they believe as they face retaliation from the National Guard. Tear gas. Hand cuffs. Arrests. And the buffoon in the White House who would rather play golf. I usually refrain from being political in my blogs but I can’t overlook the tragedies and write about what I’ve watched on TV lately. I have to speak up whether or not its popular and as minor as my voice may be, it’s something I can offer.
So what else can one person do? Little things that matter. We can be kind to ourselves and each other. We can watch what we say, admire our spokespeople and stay out of depression as best we can. Above all else, we can make sure we understand what’s really going on and we can vote, our only available and effective tool for change.
As I watch the chaos unfolding in many of our major cities, I wonder how much more it will take for us to wake up, take off the blinders, stop thinking only of ourselves, and start moving toward cooperation and kindness. We may not be out in the street but we can listen. We can see what the truth is and stand up for what is good and right. It sounds so pathetically small, but when we all do it together, it makes a powerful impact.
How do you feel and what are you doing?