The time has come in America where who we are and what we stand for is facing one of its greatest test. Do we rise above chaos or must we finally be consumed by it?
Our history of internal strife, turmoil, and standoff is well documented as with the historical facts of how they were resolved. Sometimes peaceful and often bloody, we have always moved from each point to the other; with sacrifice being required on all sides. We sacrificed blood and position. Money and fame. But in the end what we eventually lose or gain becomes our footnote/end note in history; whether we like or accept the outcome or not.
It was bound to happen that the issue of race relations would become front and center as America struggled with the ancient old question of ‘what do you do with millions of descendants of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade? Let’s face it, there was never any intention that slavery was to end in it’s beginning. At the time, it was thought that it would go on forever and that those of African descent would always be less-than the White populous in America. But as time goes on, the change of attitude, authority and the environments of a society would dictate change; whether for good, or bad.
So here we are at another crucial crossroad in time where history will be defined in our ability; or inability to move from one point of chaos to another one of peace. As Martin Luther King coined the title of his book “Community or Chaos; Where do we go from here?“, it begs the question of ‘does America have what it takes to rise above it’s own chaos in order to reach an even greater good?
I ponder the ways of our country when it seems easier to ignore truth in order to forget it’s past, but we all know that it is the past that has always been the beacon to which a country; and it’s people must use to gauge the veracity of it’s future. With each passing day, Ferguson begins to look like Palestine, some Middle East or foreign hotbed of conflict, and now our system of power is flexed as a brute crushing and suppressing it’s own people. Even a child asked ‘how did it come to this’?
That we have arrived to this moment of time is understandable; and probably expected, what no one seems to knows or understand is where do we, or will we, go from here?
This is a bit more complex than gambling on the horse deemed the long shot. There is more at stake than a crown, award, plaque or who gets to stand in the winners circle. I see no winners if what it leave is one side hurting and the other claiming victory because they shed the least blood. It does not matter which side is victorious because we all lose a part of us when no one wins.
Many secure in the comforts of their home can pretend that this is just about ‘them’, forgetting that it really is about US. The world isn’t looking at the rich or poor, Black or White, the silent or the outraged, what the world sees is an implosion that was bound to happier sooner or later.
Yes, while the eyes of the world is pinned to their TV screens, the radio and now Internet, in their own minds they must be wondering is this a moment that defines King’s question and they gotta be waiting to exhale on what the final outcome will be?
I have strong inclination that a resolve will come about, even if it is not the one I would like to see. Knowing the history of my country, I am resigned to the fact that this too shall pass; but that does not abate my fears of what comes next? A resurgence of hate or an avalanche of peace? A rise in bloodshed or a decline in morality? A peak in hatred or a decline in loving our fellow man?
Only time will tell.
By Lazone Grays, Jr.