This has been a rough past couple of weeks. Between news of losing Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall and a friend then hearing all the news of the police brutality and murders in the states, I am finding it hard to keep a positive attitude.
With the troubles in the Middle East and the recent beheading of an American Journalist (James Foley), I worry that Obama will make the mistake of going to war and the Republicans will use that to win the next presidential election in 2016. After all, they have set him up several times already. He's damned if he does something and he's damned if he doesn't. Sorry, Hillary…..but a war will definitely hurt you in the next race.
But I think the problems that are escalating with the law enforcement officers and the African-American community is probably the most troubling. They don't realize that all of these shootings are only opening the scabs of Trayvon Martin's death. We still haven't completely gotten over that. Hell…..I still have visions of the Rodney King beating in my head. And this grainy black and white films of all the people being attacked by police, dogs and water hoses in the Civil Right marches of the sixties still haunt me as well.
What the hell is going on in the United States right now?
When I wrote about The Zimmerman case and how things work in the state in Florida, I hoped that perhaps more people would take a closer look at how race relations are in the states. Eric Garner lost his life because the police believed he was selling cigarettes. Michael Brown had his hands up when he was shot in Ferguson. Four days before Michael Brown's murder, John Crawford III was shot and killed in a Walmart in Ohio. And now many Americans are learning about the business of selling military guns and tanks to local law enforcement.
For every two steps we take forward on issues like race, sexism and equality, we always seem to get knocked four or five steps back. Then it makes me think about all of the people who fought and died for our freedom but did not get their names written in history like Martin Luther King or Harvey Milk.
And in this age of technology where most news turns into a soundbite after a couple of weeks coupled with the short attention spans of our ADD population, how can we fix what is going on? I mean, think about it. In 2011 fashion designer Galliano lost his job at Dior after video of his anti-Semitic rant in a Paris bar was leaked. Now, he's back in the game of the fashion world because of Oscar de la Renta.
Remember last year when there was such an uproar about Paula Deen? Most thought that her career was over after her N-word Scandal. Well, she's back on television and apparently making a good amount of money.
How soon we quickly forget. There was a time a simple snafu could end your career. Those days are long gone. The Republicans have shown their asses for well over a decade and they're still reeking havoc.
I believe it is written that those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it. Will we learn this time around? Can the messages that Ghandi and Martin Luther King tried to share with us break through into our consciousness this time? Will the American public pay attention to what is really happening to their country or will they continue to watch the "puppet show"? Will we stop giving time and attention to people who don't deserve it? Can we take that step towards our fear instead of running in the other direction?
When I get overwhelmed with the horrors of the world and I begin to feel helpless, I take a minute to think of Anne Frank. This girl did an incredible job at giving the world an insight into what it was like to be Jewish in Nazi-occupied Holland. It would be easy to feel insignificant and small in her situation, but she did what she could. She lived like a young girl even though she and her family lived 18 hours in silence each day. And then I remind myself that my life could be worse. I'm not living in harsh situations and I am definitely better off than Anne and her family.
I tell myself that I cannot change the world situation……but I can change my immediate world. I can try to make those around me safer and enlightened. I can try to make what's wrong in my immediate world right. I can speak up and say when something is wrong rather than just be a spectator. I can create spaces and opportunities where there aren't for my brothers and sisters.
I'm not sure that I would be as strong in my convictions as Hedy Epstein. This 90 year old Human Rights Activist and Holocaust survivor was arrested in Ferguson on August 18th for protesting the death of Michael Brown. Now, here's a great living legend! For what she has been through…..I would believe she has every right to sit back and enjoy her days. Instead she goes out and marches and protests where she see injustice. There is still compassion out there. There are still people who get up and do the right thing. Could you do that?
Robin Williams' suicide is a very sad story that brought up a lot of discussions about depression. If someone famous with such a list of movie and television credits could take his own life, what would that mean for the "Average Joe". And hey….I get it. Sometimes the world seems like it will swallow you whole. But I believe you have to remember your purpose in life. What were you put here to do? Do you have a passion? Are you using the talents and gifts that were given to you?
My grandmother used to say that "the devil is so busy." Meaning that there are going to be days that are designed to bring you down and deflate your spirit. If we can remember this then we are armed to pick ourselves up and keep moving.