Friday, July 15, 2016

What Does Hope Look Like?

It's been a rough week in America in the aftermath of two separate incidents last week where two black black men were killed under questionable circumstances by police officers. This was followed by the horrible attack on police officers in Dallas TX which resulted in the death of 5 officers and left a community shattered with grief and a nation torn by tension.  

In the wake of all this death, one despairs for hope. It is not a despair born just of the terrible loss of life but from our inability to come to a consensus of what to do about it. 

There seems to be a dichotomy of thought that casts very idea that there are real problems with relations between police and the African American community as somehow being against the police. Or being an advocate for law enforcement automatically means being an opponent of racial justice. 

These two positions are not mutually exclusive. Yet it seems too many people are unable to bridge that divide. It seems like common sense to me. Stresses between black communities and the police only make things are harder for the police and their jobs less safe. African Americans, distrustful of the police, are less safe, less secure. It is to the benefit of racial justice and supporting the men and women in law enforcement that this divide must be crossed. 

It seems obvious to me. Why it isn't obvious to others defies my understanding and leaves to wonder if there is hope for us as a nation. 


In these days of tension, what does hope even look like? 

Does it look like this?   



Earlier this week, the nation was captivated by this photo of a lone African American woman standing in the street, her sun dress flowing in the summer breeze, facing police officers in black armored riot gear. 

There is almost a serene quality about her as she stands there even though I imagine there is more than flutter of nervousness in her chest. She probably doesn't want to be there right now but she feels compelled to make a stand. And she makes that stand with dignity and grace. 

Is this what hope looks like? That we can rise above our anger, rise above the heated rhetoric and slogans that we throw at each other? That we can face down our troubles without bullets and violence? 

Is this what hope look like?  

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Yesterday, terrorism struck in France again as a truck was driven into a large crowd of people. Over 80 people are dead.

France is in many ways the arbiter of civilized society, representing the epitome of fine art, fine literature and fine dining. Which makes it so shameful that the cowardly terrorists of ISIS and their ilk seem to target it so frequently. Of course, such savages do not understand what it means to live a free society built on love and joy. No, all they know is hate and fear and ignorance. France is anathema to their being. And so they try to destroy it. 

And they will fail. Because the lights of Paris and the radiant glow of all of France will push back the darkness of terror. Yes, France has suffered another devastating blow and we must mourn for the dead and pray for the living. But these bloodthirsty jackals who prey on that which they fear will not prevail. 

Not when hope lives on.

Everyone, be good to one another. 

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