On Ferguson


On Ferguson

I’m going to take a moment to talk about Ferguson.  I’m sure everyone feels like they have heard enough on the subject, especially since Thanksgiving was yesterday and everyone has that one aunt or uncle that feels like they would have been a Fox News personality if they had camera time.

I think everyone should remember that the season is upon us not just now, but year round.  Black Friday is a day of greed, gluttony and materialism after a day of thanks for what we already have. The holidays are a time of year when abundance rejoices…and where want is keenly felt. Sadly, most people seem to omit or forget the latter half of the quote from “A Christmas Carol,” for fear that it would ruin the spirit of the season.  Unfortunately, for many, it already has been ruined or at least, their ‘buzz’ has been ‘harshed.’ Inequality is on the rise to a point where it threatens our society, the young in particular are doing very poorly. In Oregon, a number of families are on food stamps [~22% and probably more as of the time I write this], despite working multiple jobs. No one who works two jobs should go hungry and definitely not their family.

 

I think the following words from The Reverend Martin Luther King’s “The Other America” need to be said/written. Maybe you’ve seen them already, or maybe not. MLK’s thoughts mirror my own on the type of civil unrest that can divide and devolve into violence.

 

It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.

This speech was given a few weeks before his assassination. I could go on about how the coverage of the riots are a distraction, how prosecutor misconduct is institutional and done across the nation in this fashion, but I’ll leave that alone for now.  I will say that what will help is fairness, compassion and justice towards our fellow man.

One of my favorite books of all all time is a children’s book, but I feel like should be required reading for adults as well.  It’s “Superman: Peace on Earth,” done by Paul Dini and Alex Ross.

But if there is a solution of hunger–of liberty, equality, fraternity, be it a spiritual hunger or a literal hunger–

“…it must be one that comes from the compassionate heart of man and extends outward toward his fellow man. There’s an old saying: ‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.’ That simple message asks humankind to nurture with knowledge, to reach out to those in need and inspire others to do the same. That is life’s greatest necessity and its most precious gift.”

Peace on Earth and goodwill towards men.