The first time I witnessed police dressed in full riot gear was at a YES concert in the 1970s. The police were lined up with guns along a walkway above us. I don’t know why. But more than forty years later it occurs to me how easy it would have been for them to open fire on a bunch of clueless concert goers.
Currently there are some sort of federally hired pseudo military police types seemingly gassing women who are peacefully protesting.
Several years back there was an incident where protestors sitting peacefully were pepper sprayed by police.
Going back further, there were the shootings Kent State. If you don’t remember, stop right now and Google it while listening to OHIO by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
I do not understand the current mentality in our country. What the heck happened?
There were no non-white kids in my elementary school. The girls HAD to wear dresses. It wasn’t until junior high school that we were allowed to wear pant suits, not any old pair of pants and a top, to school. The times they were changing.
Or so I believed. By the time I started high school, kids were bussed to different schools for integration and girls wore jeans. I was convinced all those old fogies who worried about skin color, ranted at the boys with long hair and women wearing hip huggers, and hated rock and roll would surely fade away.
Fun fact: There was so much outrage over our clothes, but no one cared that we smoked. We were allowed to smoke on school property as long as we stayed behind a white chalk line they drew periodically.
I grew up with protest songs, integration, civil rights, women’s rights, long hair, bell bottoms, drugs, sex, and rock music. I watched people protest to stop a war, to acknowledge people are people and should have the same rights regardless of skin color or gender.
It is completely beyond my comprehension that any of those things are still an issue. Do the right thing. Maybe better to say Do the KIND thing. The LOVING thing.
Why are we arguing about whether assault weapons should be banned, whether police brutality is happening, whether our real freedoms are being taken away, whether we should be wearing masks? Because the answer to all those questions is such an obvious YES. Maybe we should be asking why we aren’t making the choices that will make us a happier, healthier, stronger society.
These past weeks I found myself wishing I could afford to move to New York. The cold is a huge problem, the cost of living is ridiculous, but the appeal of living in a state that has intelligent leadership is strong.
What would it be like to have our elected state officials saying DO THE RIGHT THING? To have leaders who speak with facts and scientific evidence? To have leaders who encourage us to love each other, protect each other, take care of one another?
I want us to DO BETTER.
There is something very wrong in our society when we value weapons more than lives. When it is more important to make money than to save lives. When being asked to wear a mask is an infringement of liberty instead of a simple act that may save lives.
I don’t want to believe most people in our country are like this. But I’ve heard the ugly words spewing out of everyday people. Words that they’ve kept hidden inside for years and now feel free to say out loud.
I can’t imagine feeling that much hate toward another human being who did nothing other than be born in a different shade of skin—or made the choice to wear a mask.
This is not okay. But it keeps happening and we shouldn’t continue to accept it.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.