Everybody’s talking black and white, but I’m thinking more about blue.
Black folks invented the Blues. This music is one of America’s most enduring and celebrated art forms, yet its origins should not be forgotten as it derives from the oppression people of African descent have experienced throughout their history in America. And while Blues music might be antiquated in modern times, its ethos is still prevalent in said oppression that continues every day in ways both micro and macro.
I acknowledge the good intentions of white people who post about the shame associated with their privilege, about being able to do prosaic things without fear, but not being glared at or harassed or even killed while going about your life is not a privilege: It’s a right, an unalienable one entitled to all citizens by the Constitution of the United States of America. How is it that this cornerstone of our democracy continues to be denied to people who have been here since day one? People who have helped build and defend and define this country in ways that far exceed their percentage of the population.
Can you imagine America without African Americans? There needs to be a reconciliation project, a collective effort to ensure that the reality of the Blues that have existed throughout this country’s history are recognized and – more importantly – addressed in meaningful ways that ensure an equality that is promised to all Americans as an inalienable right.
My closest friend was a cop. More about him and his role in life and in law enforcement can be found here, but I’m certain that he went into his career with the best intentions, to protect and serve, and I’m just as certain that he was unable to entirely protect himself from the job. How could he?
He went about his workday heavily armed, in a protective vest, waiting to be called into situations that were potentially life-threatening and regularly heartbreaking. On any given day, he could kill or be killed. And when he went home at the end of each day, he would assume the traditional role of family man.
In many ways, in high crime areas, being a cop is like being a soldier in a hot zone, except that soldiers have limited deployments, not careers in active duty, and the soldiers aren’t maintaining lives as typical citizens when not engaged. And then there’s the blue wall of silence to which police officers must adhere, not to mention the personal code of projecting toughness that comes with being a cop. Statistics support that many of our law enforcement officers suffer from depression or the PTSD that haunts our soldiers. How is serious mental duress not attributed to the atrocities enacted or lack of humanity displayed on occasion by the men and women who go into law enforcement with the same noble intentions as my friend? The introduction of mental health practices and reconfiguring the blue wall would support the safety and wellness of our officers and better connect them to the communities they serve. Just last year, the Whitehouse Hawley Bill to prevent officer suicide was signed into law.
Barack Obama eloquently observed, in 2004, that we were not Red America or Blue America, but the United States of America. Four years later, with his election to the Presidency, that declaration died. It died because Red America put their own interests, both craven and cultural, ahead of those of the United States of America.
I know why. How could the Republican party fairly compete with a party whose coalition included the majority of Americans and the future of the country? Blue America is modern America: progressive, diverse, inclusive, educated, of open minds and open hearts.
There’s certainly room for other views, and certainly some flaws in the agenda, but there is no room for ideas that selectively favor a few at the expense of the many; there is no tolerance for the acceptance of incompetence, indifference, absurdity, illegality, interference, discrimination, nor the denial of precedent and logic and decency, and the flaunting of our Constitution based on self-interest and self-preservation. Red America has to go, and they have to go now. Blue America must mobilize all summer, get very active in the fall, and show up en masse on election day to turn this country blue across the board.
Yeah, I know what Dr. King said about the moral arc of the universe being long but bending towards justice. We need to speed that fucker up, get the arc hurrying towards justice so we, as a nation, can shake these blues.