As I prepare to travel to South Carolina on business, lots of questions float through my mind, and the mental gymnastics has kept me awake for two and half hours longer than I want to be. I love to write, and typically have no problems at all expressing myself or my inner-most thoughts, especially on social issues, with my pen. The political scientist in me makes me “feel a way” about almost everything going on of any relevance in my world, especially that which effects the well-being of vulnerable or disenfranchised people. But for days, my pen, also known as my emotional sword, has felt nothing short of impotent. Feeling simultaneously like I have everything to say, and nothing to say at all has left me crippled for days since first hearing about the mass murders of innocent human beings in Charleston, S.C. And to make matters worse, more news trickles out daily, each detail making the overall picture more grotesque, more sad, and more cliche.
How does one process all at once, all of these questions? “Dad, why would someone do that just because they were black?…Did he pray with them first?…Did he say anything when he was doing it?…Why are they forgiving him?…What is the confederate flag?…Why is it still flying?…Didn’t they lose?…” And then, there are my own questions doing battle inside the same cluttered mind: “How may confederate flags will I see blowing in the wind this week?…Should I care?…How much should it affect me?…Do they really allow that to be printed on license plates?…Are people still afraid of me?…Do people still hate me?…If I could read minds, would I want to, or would it be too much for even me to handle?…A gun? Seriously? – How much forethought went into that gift?…What do you mean he said that but you didn’t think he was serious?” What a luxury to not have any of these questions doing battle in your mind for days on end, in addition to all the rigors of life itself. I’ve learned that people write manifestos about all kinds of things – some garbage, and some great. I’ve been reminded that cowards still run rampant, posing as brave men behind guns.
Getting to the end first, he must be forgiven, but we must all do better, in some way, or never forgive ourselves. We must all use ignorance, cowardice and evil as the footstools of illumination, tenacious honesty, and unapologetic positivity. As for the middle, between the great chasm caused by polar opposites, caused by people who hate what they are not, and do not love themselves, caused by people who have been misled and have masted the title “wise fool” – God willing, my heart and soul will tackle that beast in the middle another day.
#takeitdown #takedowntheflag #charlestonshooting
Mervin A. Bourne, Jr.