A defining moment for America

Did someone drop America on its head? Instead of celebrating the birth of our country, I feel we should stage an intervention. Leadership has not only gone off the rails, its torn up the rails and melted them down so no one else can travel down the track.

Turning to social media each morning is equivalent to opening Pandora’s box, minus the hope.  Protestors are raging with pain in the wake of another Black man murdered by police, looters are taking advantage of the situation to cause chaos. Videos of police range from empathetic kneeling to abuse of power.

All over social media I see rage, pompous bragging, resisting blame, running from accountability and finger pointing. And that’s just the president. It’s like we’re staggering home from a rave, puking in the gutter and trying to call Uber on a ham sandwich.

On top of the rage, Mother Nature gifted us with COVID-19 and climate change to teach us a lesson. I think the lesson is “Shut up and work together or you’re all going to die.” She’s really into tough love.

The heartbreaking, devastating images of Black men and women being abused and murdered is more than a punch in the gut. It’s like someone took a shovel to the dirt of our country and dug up a whole bunch of wormy ugliness, rank with centuries of hatred and death as the soil is turned over to face the light of the sun.

It’s a defining moment, not just for our county, but for us as individuals. As White people.

I’ve never had someone be afraid of me, just because I exist. (Well, my kids, but that doesn’t count). No one has ever changed direction as I walked toward them or clutched their wallets if I made eye contact. I never have to act like my existence isn’t a danger to those around me. I take my innocence for granted. People of color don’t have that luxury.

We watched heavily armed men storm a state capitol building, spitting on police officers and demanding justice. We all know what would have happened had those men been Black.

Either we are for equality or against it. Either we are for the right for Black men to leave their homes and get back safely, or we’re not. Either we believe gays have the right to work and live where they please, or we don’t. Either women deserve equal treatment under the law, or they don’t.

There are no more gray areas.

It’s not the America I thought I lived in because I’ve been living in ignorance. My White privilege kept me blindfolded. I live in Utah for hell’s sake. The only thing whiter than Utah is a polar bear eating vanilla ice cream during a blizzard. But that’s no excuse.

I’m not one of those people who say they don’t see color. Of course, I see color. That’s what makes this world beautiful. How boring would it be if everyone were white? I’ve got beautiful, smart grandchildren whose fathers are from Mexico. What battles will they face because they are not 100 percent White?

It’s unforgiveable it took the flagrant killings of Black people, by those sworn to serve and protect, to finally shake us awake to the ever-present danger faced by tens of millions of people every. single. day. Don’t tell me All Lives Matter when all lives are not being brutalized.

We’ve watched this drunk, train wreck of a country trying to keep up the illusion it doesn’t need help. The last few weeks have pulled down that curtain of delusion. It’s time for frank discussions and intense rehab.

Originally published in the Davis Clipper

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