Sick at heart at the events of the past couple of weeks–mass murders in Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad (did I miss any?), the latest police shootings of black men in the U.S., the sniper shooting of police in Dallas, on and on. Today I read about a lynching in Atlanta. A lynching!
Two of my grandsons are black. One is 16, the other 13. Every day, I’m scared for them.The mood in this country is so poisonous, so hate-filled, so irrational, so racist. It’s scary as hell. Black Lives Matter the demonstrators chant. Don’t white lives matter? the (white) bystanders mutter. Of course they matter. The problem isn’t that they don’t matter, the problem is they matter more than everyone else’s.
Thank god people are protesting. In San Francisco last night, 2000 people marched down Market Street to Civic Center, calling for an end to racist police murders and prosecution of the officers involved. In Oakland, a thousand gathered in what is widely known as Oscar Grant Plaza, in memory of black youth Oscar Grant, who was shot six years ago lying face down on a Bart (our rapid transit) platform by a transit policeman. The crowd marched to a freeway on-ramp and blocked all north- and south-bound lanes of Interstate 880 for something like four hours. Usually when protesters block a freeway, the news is full of complaints and outrage from drivers caught in the mess. This time the drivers quoted were sympathetic and supportive.The videos documenting the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castilles in Cleveland have rocked people all over the country. Let’s hope it doesn’t end there.
I cannot imagine how this must look to the rest of the world. America, the entitled, flag-waving, self-deluding superpower having its racist underbelly outed in public. Not that it’s the first time. It was television coverage of the terrorizing and beating of black people in the south that helped get the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts passed. It helped get me to Selma to join the march on Montgomery.
Sad to think so little real progress has been made. Sad for my black grandsons and granddaughter. Sad for us all. For all sorts of reasons, I fear what the future holds.
A friend recently posted a mass choral version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on Facebook. “It’ll sooth you,” she wrote. I’d like to share it here with you.