Photos by Clay Banks, Koshu Kunii, Max Bender,
Kelly Sikkema, and Michelle Boncos on Unsplash
I generally try to avoid hot topics in my work, but I also realize this blog is mine. I do not write it to please others or to tow any particular line. It is an exploration of thought, an opportunity for me to hear myself think. I share it to give you the same freedom.
When my amygdala was still charged, I was a person who tried to make everyone happy. I didn’t want to cause problems, and I continually compromised myself to do so. Kevin Hart posted a stand-up routine where he was railing the concept of the word ‘matter.’ He was talking about settling for the idea of #BlackLivesMatter, and that ‘mattering’ was a pretty low bar. He’s right, and as a people, we’re still not reaching that bar. The concept of Civil Rights and any group of people needing to ask any other group of people to ‘just be civil’ is a disappointment. We’re evolved enough to be better than that.
When the current administration came into office, I was stunned. I want to blame Trump for his behavior. I want to put the weight of my disappointment on the politicians, but I remember saying that he would bring awareness to the people of this country, and he has. I’ll be honest. I believe Hilary is just as corrupt, but there was a subtle nature to her corruption that we found acceptable as a country. I struggled with that vote. I felt I had no real option, and I want to blame the system, but I was as much at fault as the system is.
The reason our current administration is in power is that the system is broken, not just the political system, but by our lack of participation in it. We want change, but we can’t wait for it to be handed to us. We must demand it. We must show up to vote, or protest, or do our part to make the world a better place, not just for ourselves, but for everyone. We must accept our responsibility. If we are to change, we must own our part. Trump is not a new issue for our country. He is a representation of the inequality that has existed all along. He is just loud enough for us to finally hear who we have been, who we still are.
But he’s not everything we are. I see videos every day of thousands of people gathering around the world, saying, “It’s time for a change. It’s time to break down the model we have been denying and to start rebuilding again.”
It’s hard work. Things are a mess right now, but like that quiet moment when we realize that our amygdala has been the problem all along, we commit to the work. Our condition won’t change if we don’t change it. It is a tall mountain we climb, but like any mountain, we take one step at a time and eventually we will land in a better place. We have come a long way in the last fifty years, but not far enough.
I’ve worried that the posturing of our President might bring about a civil war, but I realized this morning, we have been in knee-deep in civil war for the last several hundred years, at least. Our battle lines are human rights campaigns. Picketers are the front line, and both our police and the communities they are committed to serving are facing hand-to-hand combat every day.
Everyone is afraid. The poor are anxious about being hungry. The minorities are fearful of “not being able to breathe.” The wealthy are worried about losing their security. Our common denominator is fear, and with fear comes ruin, but we are no longer blind to it. We must see it every day. It is George Floyd’s tragic death and the fear of the officer that killed him. It’s divided political parties, so insistent they are right, they make little progress. It’s children being disowned by family and communities because they love someone of the same sex, or individuals being tortured because they thought they could choose their own gender.
Our fear is everywhere, but so is our hope. If we can look past the limitations of our own minds and hear each other, we can heal. There are two fundamental forces in the human brain. Knowing and learning. We are either gathering knew information or cycling the information we already know. Fear lives in the latter, the need to be right, to be sure, to know.
I’ve said, #AllLivesMatter,” because I didn’t understand. #BlackLivesMatter. They more than matter. They are valuable, beautiful, and they bless us with their existence. We should treat them like we know this. I also believe, #BlueLivesMatter because not all police offices are murderers. They are those who have committed themselves to make a difference. Picking a side is not the goal of any movement. These hashtagged statements come to the forefront of our lives to educate us. They are here to help us see and injustice so we can make life better for everyone, not fight for our opinion.
You know your point of view. Who is on the other side of your opinion? How do they feel? What do they think? I see videos every day of people educating each other, saying, “This is how I feel.” Listen, not for them if you can’t, but to eliminate your own fear. Truth comes only through seeing all sides.
Learn something you didn’t know today about “your enemy.” Wherever you have been at war, be willing to find peace. So that we, as a people, can find peace.
Thank you for being a part of what I do.