This may be the hardest blog I have written. Because it speaks to our failures. Failure to address problems. Failure to understand others. Failure to understand my own responses. I am not new to seeing anguish and anger accelerate on the streets.
I was 18 in 1968, alone at home in Lafayette, Indiana, when I turned on the TV after work and saw what seemed to be the world on fire. The problems behind those blazes were not solved. Even three years later when I visited DC, the scars on 14th street were reflected by still ravished small businesses that never recovered.
We should not repeat this failure. It has taken a very long time to reach this depth of chaos and we aren’t going to climb out overnight. Right now cooler heads need to work together and I know that’s a very tall order, but avoiding further loss of life and injuries is critical. Followed by ending the needless destruction of businesses that will only reduce opportunities in our communities and continue the cycle of economic failure.
This is one more thing the millennial and the younger generations will be addressing closeup and personally. But many in these younger generations show the flexibility and willingness to learn about people from different races, religions, and sexual orientations without the judgments that have come from earlier generations. Effort by state and local governments, as well as Congress, will be necessary to find workable solutions. But it will be through the large and small individual connections—making an effort to know each other as people with similar needs to make a living and provide affordable health care for our families, to educate our children and ourselves—that we will begin to understand each other.
Together we are neighbors, friends, family, and strangers from Seattle to San Antonio, Chicago to New Orleans, New England to Miami and everywhere in-between. We are part of the American experience, still struggling to live up to the phrase “We the People,” which does not distinguish between or among us. As we struggle to address excruciating threats to human rights, physical and economic health, we must all work together, joining to develop a myriad of solutions, to answer this greatest challenge to our democracy.
We the People have overcome multiple struggles in the past, but maybe not using the heart, soul, and intelligence of each one of us. Now we must revisit our past, applying what we know now using a new lens, and gather ideas from every segment of our communities living together, despite the over-whelming challenges we face.
Because Americans are always better together than we are apart.