Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Unringing Donne's Bell

I am a sixty-four-year-old white married man. My wife and I have two adult children. I cannot pretend to know what it’s like to be anyone else. All I can be is empathetic and hope for the best.

Like you, I struggle and often fail to find meaning in the sorrow and sadness that too often make headlines in these United States. I have no words and no way to understand what is happening in my country when Philando Castile and Alton Sterling lose their lives within 36 hours of one another and the only reason for their deaths seems to be “black in the wrong place at the wrong time.” 


We all need to acknowledge the plague of violence that’s killing black men (and women) across our nation. If people were being attacked by a wild animal, or succumbing to a disease, we would be working around the clock to find a solution.  


As it is, every day brings another headline, a moment of outrage, a headshake with a look of helpless bewilderment and then sullen silence. And then the cycle begins again. It’s just another news story on another day. 


Falcon Heights, Minnesota; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Montgomery, Alabama; Raleigh, North Carolina, Baltimore, Maryland to name just a few cities and states help underscore the scale and scope of our pandemic. 


No more. 


Our nation’s motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” is Latin for from many, one. We like to break it out and pass it around on Memorial Day, or the just-celebrated Fourth of July but it’s an everyday motto and it needs to become an everyday mentality. I wear glasses, good ones, but for the life of me I cannot see why this is so hard to do. 


Say it with me: We have to stop killing one another but, more than that, we have to stop telling ourselves there’s nothing we can do to stop killing one another. That is part of the lie. 


The other part is that somehow there are sides in all of this. There aren’t; there’s just us. We are all we’ve got and we are all we have ever had. But maybe most importantly, we are all we shall ever need. But we need every single one of us.


A week ago, John Cena’s celebration of American Diversity, Love Has No Labels, was all anyone could talk about on-line or in person. We all need to watch it and to live it. We are different from the nation who’s founding we just celebrated and from the nation, we strive to be every passing day. 


When you see no color, no sex, no religion, and most importantly no differences based on any of that in any of us, we can stop talking about doing better, and actually, start to do better. 


In the words of John Donne, “Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.”
-bill kenny

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