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Chatterbox: The ends and the means


It’s fair and honest to say that Chatterbox was never intended to be filled with current events, politics, or opinions on things that matter urgently. That changed long ago, much to my discomfort, but I thought by today we could ease back into something light. A murder changed that.

In our nation, these days, the situation changes so quickly no one can keep up. So, the light column never made it to the keyboard. The second column died right on the keyboard because the runaway freight train that is today’s America, once again, jumped the rails. We’re not a nation in change. We’re a nation in nearly unprecedented crisis.

Ergo, honesty is the only order for the keyboard today. Honestly, I’m speechless. Honestly, that nearly never happens. Honestly, much of what happened in this nation in the past 24 hours has happened before. However, some of what has happened since yesterday has only happened once before, just to be the necessary exception to the rule and, honestly, I’m personally curious as to how much vodka and chuckling is going around the tables in Moscow, right now. I’m sorry, that’s my honest opinion. Still, I can’t be alone in that thought.

Factually, most of us know we’ve been at the violent brink of impending, necessary and long overdue change, as parts of America fail to catch up to much of the rest of the world. What is it about factions of our population that makes equality stick in their collective craw? We all understand the suffering and sacrifices of change, but it is both inevitable and the only true antidote to stagnation.

So many powerful people in America get rich on the injustice of bigotry, but our date with actual equality is long awaited and even longer overdue, paid for in blood and suffering, anticipated with patience and effort and, yes, occasionally desperate violence, repeatedly lost in disregard and left in despair.

We don’t condone violence; we bristle at it, of course, but peaceful protest has, historically, gone largely unrewarded with change. Especially now, much has been ignored or agitated to violence, some penetrated by subversives to create havoc. Let’s also not forget: fire hoses turned on peaceful marchers, even children, in the ’60s, teens sitting in a circle on college campus and even a deaf woman all pepper-sprayed during the Occupy movement and all during peaceful protest. Peaceful protesters, again, were aggressed upon just yesterday. It’s madness.

It’s way past time for us to put the words we protect with such great pride into effect. Equality should have been a non-issue for us. After all, we’re America, land of the free, with liberty and justice for all, e pluribus unum, of the people, by the people, for the people.

America is supposed to demonstrate only equality among all mankind. There seems to be confusion of great magnitude about that and the last three-plus years, if we’re being honest, have been dedicated to whipping up that confusion. Poorly shrouded innuendo in numerous political speeches lately leave just enough room for disclaimers and back-pedaling, but are the entire leash needed to incite aggression.

Now, we are a nation more divided than ever since the Civil War. No one can say the violence didn’t induce a negative response; no one can say the negative response didn’t escalate the violence, and no one can deny that when talk doesn’t garner attention, people shout.

As I type, the president has gone from the bunker under the White House to a photo op featuring the Bible as a prop, and on to threats of military aggression against citizens in this land of the free. Justifiable protests became riots and looting; not all of it was spontaneous, nor was it all instigated by the protesters. We need to understand why protest occurs, how much a nation and its people can and will endure, how a nation becomes vulnerable when there’s division and unrest, and what all the effects will be.

If we emerge a better, more whole, more cohesive people and a stronger, smarter, more prudent nation, and if the losses are negligible for a fair and extraordinary result, we can hope to be better for it. If not, it’s all a waste of good people and their safety, and it leaves our nation vulnerable, and we’ll have to suffer through all of this, for the same reason, again.

Now is the time for clear headed leadership …