The Hurt is the same. The Blood is the same. So, when do we realize we are the same?
This is the first installment of a 3-part series focused on providing solutions to violence and racism in America. It will run every three days this week. Please come back on join me for the entire series.
The last three weeks were mind numbing. It started with Orlando, next Baton Rouge, and then St Paul, and Dallas. All total, 60 deaths. That is not even counting Chicago over the 4th of July weekend and the countless other victims of violence, be it domestic or gang or simply, insane; that didn’t make national news. I’ve wrestled with this for long time and I’ve come to the hard conclusion that we are “ADDICTED” to violence! In America, we kill! We kill what we don’t like, we kill what is different, we kill what we don’t agree with, we kill for money, we kill for power, we kill for reputation, we kill what we don’t understand and we kill what we fear. We just kill.
We ask the same question after each incident, why? We try to understand, we want to place each in a category: domestic, gang related, hate, police brutality, terrorism, etc. But, the end result of each is loss of life. Something no other human should have the power to take unless in war (which should be the last resort at all times).
Addiction is a brain disease that is characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It is a condition that results when a person engages in an activity which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life and health. Those addicted may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
For America, this is not a new addiction. This addiction was always woven into the fabric of America, even if we don’t want to admit it. It masked itself in several other issues like racism or drugs or family issues, even business, workers’ rights and political initiatives. But, the bottom line is, violence was always riding shotgun in America’s journey. It’s just that with modern technology, it is in our faces immediately, unfiltered and without the ability for us to categories it as “them” over there; that group, those people. Technology is finally making us “Really” look at ourselves in the mirror.
And what do we see? We see that violence is our go to move. It is what we entertain ourselves with and it, along with other barriers is how we keep some kind of distorted order. We now see ourselves in living color daily on breaking news and on cell phone video. Who would have thought something made for talking would force us to see ourselves, finally. A picture “IS” worth a thousand words. Hopefully, it will force us to seek recovery. It is far past the time we did just that.
So what do we do now?
I can tell you this; we are not going to change this with a heavy hand. Our old way of thinking and acting suggests violence can beat violence. Remember the war on drugs? Did it solve our drug problem? We can’t arrest our way out of it. We can’t jail our way out of it. We can’t deport our way out of it. We can’t build a wall our way out of it. There is only one answer: We have to “Change”! We have to “Love”, “Respect”, “Understand” and be “Just” to find our way out of it.
So what is the first step one must take when an addiction arises and you want recovery? The first step is admitting to oneself that you have a problem. No other person or group or nation can do that for us. America has to admit to itself that we have a violence addiction. Can we do that? How do we do that? How can a nation admit that? With Courage! With Leadership!
Start at our churches. Next are our community and civic organizations. Next are our schools; elementary through college and university. Next are our local governments. Next are media outlets, that includes radio, TV, music and the movie industry. Last, is the Big Boss – our National Government, which should be first. But, as always, politics will get in the way. It may take another 20 years and countless more deaths before it balks and talks and lobbies and finances and filibusters its way to a solution.
So, the people will have to move first. And, we have to move now in order to save lives and our country. We must demand in this election season that both major parties add significant policies that address our violence addiction. If they don’t, throw them out from the local to the national level. This is the most important and immediate “POWER” step we can take over the next four months. We need an “INTERVENTION”!
Let’s implement a non-violence day once a month in each of these organizations. Talk about it openly, if only for one hour. We need this for the next 12 months at a minimum. That’s one sermon or bible study monthly on non-violence. That’s one meeting monthly to talk about non-violence. That’s one conference call monthly to talk about non-violence. That’s one webinar monthly to talk about non-violence. That’s one radio program monthly to talk about non-violence. Aren’t our lives and our country worth that? That won’t make us weak. It will make us stronger.
Check back next Thursday to hear my thoughts on racism in America. For more solutions to the problems we face in our communities, read Steps to the Promised Land.