Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Easy Button

A friend expressed concern recently
about the divisiveness of our national scene;
and, rather than just complain,
she offered the beginning of a solution.

At first glance, I loved the idea.

At a certain time, say, 
7:00 pm Friday night, 
we all just walk out of the building we are in. 
Just out.

Just for a few minutes.
Not rally, not speeches, not organized.

Just OUT. 

Talk to neighbor. 
Just OUT.

Ready to move on.
Beyond guns.
Beyond oligarchy.
Beyond injustice.
Beyond racism.
Beyond homophobia.
Beyond sexism.
Beyond putting one another down to feel raised up.
Beyond fear.
Beyond hatred.
Beyond pitting one against another.
Beyond destroying this Earth that holds us.

Together we stand.
I stand here, next to you.
You stand there, next to me.

Person by Person. 
Neighborhood by neighborhood.
City by City.
Land by Land.

We, the people.

Sounds good, right?
How could you not want to move 'beyond' all the rhetoric?

So I did it;
 not that anyone else did.
I hadn't expected to see anyone else.

Watching my neighbors going about their lives,
noticing who was outside, who hadn't come home yet,
whose kids were playing in the street,
that's when my uneasiness with this idea coalesced.

Given the reality for many of my friends
(probably the majority),
going outside and standing with our neighbors
simply reinforces our own view of reality;
a reality shaped by our privilege,
our economic status
and our ability to shield ourselves from many of the realities
with which people struggle in this country.

It reinforces that "We the people"means
"We the White people".

Despite how many friends and family I have who have darker skin than mine,
who appear regularly on my social media 'feed',
some of whom I see on a daily basis at work,
they don't live in my neighborhood.

To understand their reality,
to stand side by side with them in solidarity,
I have to get outside
not just my house
but my neighborhood;
out of my silo,
out of my bubble.

That's where the risk is;
that's where the growth will happen.

Changing the systems
that continue to oppress and victimize
will take standing with our brothers and sisters,
but it will take more than walking out our doors
and standing in our own streets.
There is no easy button.

We're kidding ourselves if we think there is.

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