The Fool on the Hill
When introducing myself, I speak of my faith at the core of my being. Guiding my decisions in life along my path. To some Faith is set above and apart from their daily life, something relegated to Sunday and holidays. My faith is integrated into who and what I am. It directs what I do and where I go in life. It is a way of life. I do not compartmentalize my faith. Our society today stresses compartmentalization keeping different parts of our lives separate from each other so that we might better focus our attention on what is in front of us. It is this compartmentalization that I feel is hurting more than helping which leaves us feeling fractured and paralyzed, the very state from which you are influenced and controlled. An immersive strategy and approach are more natural for the human condition. We do not exist, outside of our environment; social, natural, emotional nor economic. We exist in all of these, at the same time, as human beings. An example: when attempting to learn a new language the best strategy is immersive. Existing in the culture of the language you wish to learn. We must see ourselves as one with and not separate and apart from society. Headlines are screaming at us lately about critical issues that challenge us to respond in meaningful ways on issues that have persisted for centuries and yet they must be addressed to avoid losing what we value most in our country, our freedom, will be forever torn from our grasp. Racism and wealth inequality and income disparity all intertwined rise up and threaten the very foundation of our democracy. People scream and rage at their government, as a monolith without mind form nor structure. Their minds cannot focus on any particulars, as they are raging at the monolith of disparity. From the origins of our nation, the structures of government have been left to be dominated by those with wealth and power because somehow they must be knowledgeable. All the while implementing protections for themselves and subjugating working men and women, who are the real creators of wealth. Many in life use words without understanding their implications and affectation. They rage, “The government discriminates against people of color and the poor!” not understanding that the very government being raged against is composed of you and me and them. We the people are the government and the government we have exists because of us. The basis of the concept of a government of, by, and for, the people demands an involved citizenry immersed in all its functions. Not that the inequality does not exist, but the very nature of our government is not understood by the vast majority of Americans. They relish the admiration of the world but not the very hard work and effort necessary for all of this to come together in a way that will benefit all its citizens. Many leave the work of government to others and too often that equates to ceding more power to those who already have power. When violence breaks out in our cities due to outrage and abuses, the press and those within the current power structure speak of “riots” to downplay the inherent cause and legitimacy of those actions. The Press focuses on those breaking the law and taking advantage of actions taken by a community expressing their outrage over oppression. Nonviolent demonstrations are the most powerful and effective means of changing the status quo. Yet, they get ignored in favor of reporting those perpetrating the mindless violence. Peaceful protests are preferred by everyone, but as history has borne out, violence is sometimes the only language understood by those who risk losing power and authority over our citizens. Those in authority talk of law and order, and yet, law and order have not been equitable for the whole of society. The inequities of that structure are well known and still tolerated and those subjected to the inequities are just expected to accept the condition and live with it. Still, the question always arises how does this law-breaking benefit the community? How does looting the very neighborhood business that is essential for a community's existence bend history and the society towards a more equitable solution? Why does it occur? If you have an old boiler in your home and the control valve begins to fail how do you control the situation so that the crisis is resolved to the betterment of all concerned? The control valve in this case is the police in the community and the pressure being released is the frustration of the community. You cannot just release the pressure you must repair the very control valve that has failed its function in society. You have leadership at the very top of our governmental structure who has flagrantly ignored and compromised the rule of law stating that he, is in fact, the law. But the ones paying that price are always the working poor and middle class. The community must be heard and they must be included in any resolution. The words, tolerance, justice, and patience are bandied about to somehow mollify those who are expressing their anger and outrage over their community's experience of oppression, and yes it is oppression. In their community, the police behave more like an occupying force than a public service there to keep the peace. Peace is not the absence of violence it is the presence of justice. When the police can be seen as representing true justice there will be true peace. When we speak of tolerance or to be tolerant, do we even know what we are truly expressing? The very word tolerant implies one is superior over another. Would you want your spouse to tolerate your children? Or would you want the children to be relished and cherished? To tolerate someone is to say that their imperfections will not be held against them. Children's nature is to be nurtured and cherished and understood. Words must be chosen carefully. Love and compassion have no hierarchy. Justice often is translated into the justification for a lack of action to bring about a solution to the inequality that currently exists. Do not believe your eyes and what is before you but believe minutia of justification for actions that clearly violate an entire community's right to exist, their right to be human. The inequality, injustice, and inequity of our society and governmental structures need to be addressed and rectified in an inclusive and forthright manner that will guide us quickly to resolution. It will not be enough to “study” nor to “do a report” nor to form a commission consisting of those who currently have the power and authority. The very citizens of these communities must be a very critical component of our efforts to resolve the root causes of the community's anger and frustration. This inequity was written into our Constitution from the birth of America and while progress to rectify has happened it is not enough and I hope that it is not too late to get this right.