Hang In There
Not that I’m a pessimist but radical problems demand radical solutions.
Anti-war activist Jerry Rubin came up with a novel way to end the war in Vietnam.
He joined with fellow YUPPIES and levitated the Pentagon, promising to put it down only if the war ended. It worked or in the words of John and Yoko, “War is over if you want it.”
We can easily apply both solutions to the doomsday of climate change; the irascible pandemic of COVID 19; and the circular, never-ending story about racism and murder by police in America.
Not that I’m minimizing the problems; I’m just fresh out of ideas and plumb frustrated with it all. I could deal with climate change. I could deal with COVID 19. I could deal with racism in America.
But all at once is just too much for one person to fix. But I’ll keep trying.
In my 70 years on the planet I can only remember one year that was so dire, so hopeless. That would be 1966, the year the Yankees finished last and Horace Clark was the second baseman.
I’m going blind reading all the op-eds, Facebook postings, Tweets, sky writing, and pleas from the mountain tops. Everybody has an opinion but like Honest Abe said, “all the people can’t be all right all of the time and none of the people can be all right some of the time and some of the people can’t be all right all of the time” or something like that.
For all of you who didn’t see this coming, I mean climate change, the pandemic and revolution in the cities, all I can say is, get your heads of out of the sand. And don’t forget the prescient words of Malcom X after the assassination of President Kennedy. “The chickens,” Malcolm said, “are coming home to roost.”
Now for the solutions.
A wise person once said to me that people won’t destroy the earth. The earth will not go away; people might vanish, but not the earth. It has been here 4,543 billion years and it’s not going anywhere soon. They are words of deep encouragement and support. Excuse me I’m going to jump. No not really, just figuratively. Or maybe really. Or maybe figuratively. Flip of the coin determines destiny.
Look at the upside of a pandemic that has killed 100,000 in the U.S. and ravaged countries around the world. The renaissance followed the years of the plague in Europe. Maybe we will follow suit and the coming years will be filled with wonder and enlightenment.
We may see post pandemic versions of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, William Shakespeare, John Milton, William Byrd, Niccolo Machiavelli, Giotto, Dante, Thomas Hobbes, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and Rene Descartes.
Or maybe the second wave will come, followed by subsequent waves every few years that leave us quarantined forever.
We may have to just wait it out and hope for the best. Very scientific.
This is a tough one. White people have been hardwired to believe they are superior and they do have more guns. The solution may be one for the electrical or biological engineers. Their task will be to rewire and change the attitudes of all white people and bring equality of opportunity to all people and to provide reparations to people of color for the years and years of slavery, persecution, theft of culture and murder.
Another wise person (different than the first wise person) told me that the system is not broken; it is working exactly as the white establishment wants it to work. The system requires that any real threats to the existing structure be me with any and all violence necessary.
Black Lives Mater reminds us that white privilege is real and dangerous. Here are few of those the white privileges followed by the person of color who was killed for trying to take advantage of the same privileges:
I can go birding (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson)
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can go to church (#Charleston9)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10 year old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live (#FreddieGray)
I can sleep in my own bed (#BreonnaTaylor)
I can be arrested without the fear of being murdered (#GeorgeFloyd)
I reposed the above on Facebook and the response by one New Jersey elected official was succinct. “BS” was all he posted.
On that note, maybe we should just call Jerry Rubin and his band of merry makers.
But don’t lose faith. Remember, “All you need is love,” “We are the world,” “Kumbaya,” “We shall overcome.”
And in the immortal words of Jerry Samuels:
“And they’re coming to take me away ha-haaa. They’re coming to take me away ha-haaa ho-ho hee-hee.
To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time.
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men In their clean white coats.
And they’re coming to take me away
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away ha-haaa!”