As editor, I am seeing (and you will see!) the fevered pitch atmosphere surrounding the chasm being created in our country as race relationships dwindle. I see it clearly via the degree of anger permeating the articles our fine authors have contributed this week. It fairly jumps off the pages.
My sensibilities are equally elevated to a degree that surpass the norm, watching the very behavior that creates situations such as these in the first place. Just overnight, another instance of looting occurred in Ferguson, but this time, it was another black individual who was the calming force attempting to dissuade the looters from making his neighborhood even uglier. And it worked. It only worked because the looters could relate to someone of their same race. (See VIDEO.)
By the time you read this, you may have already seen the video. It's going viral and I'm grateful for that, in fact for anything that stops fanning the flames of violence, since our chosen leaders have taken few steps toward it. The snippets I've seen all week point to a neighborhood that is striving to return to normal. A neighborhood full of good people who care for each other in neighborly ways. People who are suffering at the hands of those who have used the unfortunate killing of a black youth as a vehicle to slap the face of white people and white authority, and an opportunity to snag some free stuff. Even if it means penalizing a store owner who had nothing to do with the police or the death of a black kid.
But I digress. My question is: Will this one young man who managed to be a calming force in this town become the catalyst? A poster child for peace? And if so, why would those who proudly bandy about their "Reverend" titles not be the ones who would walk amongst the people of this town and be the voice of reason? Shame on them. Shame on you, "Reverend" Sharpton and "Reverend" Jackson! That you would not have made it a part of your preaching, (do they actually preach anywhere?) and a time of calling together the people of that town. Shame on you for not contacting the mayor and asking for his full cooperation in coordinating a quickly organized town meeting in a public hall, an auditorium somewhere...or even an outdoor, hastily built dais and a microphone, speaking to the people and followed up with a Q and A! For God's sake, ride through that town in a car with a loudspeaker if you have to - but do something.
It would never happen, though. Heaven forbid - being a calming force could easily be construed as siding with the white man. Asking patience until all the facts were examined would mean their popularity (and income) might hit a brick wall. No, going on talk shows, yelling loudly, banging their fists and demanding justice is clearly the picture of solidarity and standing together, I suppose. These "men of God" seek nothing more than furthering their own cause. Keeping the black man "down" means keeping their own careers "up." They've buffooned their way into high places by preying on the very people they profess to love and strive to elevate. Shame on them for never considering "WWJD." Fly there at the onset, He would have told them.
I hesitate to "go there" and make a preposterous suggestion, but here goes: President Obama, why have you not sent a stronger message to the people in Ferguson? If you've taken the time to make public a phone call to an athlete who decided to "come out of the closet" to publicize your viewpoint and appreciation for harmony between America and the homosexual community, then why would you not consider the opportunity to influence in a situation that continues to widen that dangerous, cancerous gap known as racial discord in this country? Instead, you doled out little else except your perfunctory head nod. The answer is simple. You have a matching mentality. Never have you taken a single opportunity to act on your promise of bringing the country together.