Today, it seems these United States are more divided every day. We have cultural divisions between urban, rural and suburban. We have political divisions. We certainly have gender and racial …
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Today, it seems these United States are more divided every day. We have cultural divisions between urban, rural and suburban. We have political divisions. We certainly have gender and racial divisions.
In some corners, the solution is violence. On the one hand, vandalism and arson. On the other, big guns and lots of troops. But if history proves anything, it is that fighting fire with fire makes bigger fires. Or, as was said long ago, those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
Recently, Gen. James Mattis criticized those in these United States who would “divide and conquer” by attempting to appear as aggressive, tough and dominant. Yet, by failing to recognize the common humanity in us all, such attitudes often lead to escalating violence which in turn worsens the situation. The “remedy” becomes more deadly than the illness.
Instead, Gen. Mattis maintained that “in union there is strength.” Police officers kneeling before protesters. Civilians giving police officers bottles of water. People gathering at dawn to sweep up broken glass. And most of all, people protesting peacefully. Black, white and brown people wearing masks and lifting their voices as one to decry the violence that has spilled innocent blood. Protests create change by inspiring reform. In union there is the strength to cause divisions to fall, barriers to disappear, and justice to become reality.
The protests have been sparked because a man was lynched in our streets. George Floyd begged for his life, yet the cruel and cavalier police officer continued to suffocate him. Near the end, Floyd stopped pleading with his attacker and evoked someone else:
“Mama! Mama, I’m through!”
Even with all of our differences, many of us know that no one loves us like our mama. It reminds me of another dying man who looked down from the cross and saw his mama. That same man commanded us to love one another so that we would be united as one body.
When George Floyd called for his mama, his killers were unmoved. They could not see George Floyd as someone’s son just like them.
But a bystander called out, “He is a human being!”
That is our strength — to see through the divisions and see the common humanity in each person. I believe that each of us is created in the Divine Image, which means we must understand the inherent worth of each person. By that strength, we can finally end the scourge of racism that is America’s original and most damning sin.
We will never know what George Floyd’s mother would have done, for she preceded her son in death by two years. Now, it is up to us to work for justice together and be united in our efforts to reform our society. For George Floyd, for all the slain black sons and daughters, for all the people who loved them, may our words and actions wield the love that makes the evil forces quail.
At a recent march organized by the student chapter of the NAACP, I saw dozens of young children walking down the street, hand in hand with their families. As a gentleman sang “We Shall Overcome Someday” in a deep baritone voice, I thought what better time than now.
May we make our mamas proud.