As I sit here, contemplating the events and the mixed (sometimes toxic) rhetoric unfolding over the last couple of days with regard to the Michael Brown murder and subsequent Grand Jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, I am at a loss. Not for words, but of understanding.
What has happened to us? What has happened to society? What has happened to the fabric of our families, our neighborhoods? When did we become so spiritually and mentally barren? More importantly, when did everything “bad” that happens to us as a people become someone else’s fault? I am not jumping on a soapbox about the verdict. I am not contributing a blog in order to amass likes, shares, cheers or even controversy. I am deeply and sincerely disappointed and on some level saddened that we continue to beat the drum that the system has failed us, without accepting the reality that we have failed each other and ourselves. I hear a generation talking about how bad they have it. Really? Did you live through the civil rights movement? Did you have to march, sit-in, suffer demeaning, demoralizing injustice at the hands of men and women who considered you less than human? Then you do not have it bad! Meantime this same generation laments that “things have not changed, we are still slaves”. Really? Because slavery was forced upon us. Viciously, brutally, mercilessly! We had no choice. We could not resist when the chains and shackled were tightened mercilessly around our wrists necks and ankles. Today we make conscious decisions to enslave ourselves! Instead of shackles, you adorn your ankles with “strappy red-bottoms” that cost more than your mortgage and dress up your wrists with bags that could feed a small third world country for a week. Yet can’t put your kids through college, or invest in the stock market or a retirement fund. That is your choice. You would rather look good and turn up then turn in a resume or job application to secure your future. That is your choice. You would rather impress the Jones’ rather than address the sickness of your jones’. That is YOUR choice.
And all the while, your children are watching. A generation is watching. They are studying every move, each decision and each action. They are emulating every vice because so many choose to ignore virtue. Understand, when you disrespect authority you send a clear message that they too can have no regard for authority. You practice lax principles and they fully accept that they can live a life void of principles. You teach them behavior that sets them up for trouble, and then you blame someone else when they come face to face with the consequences of that trouble.
What is happening in your homes? What is happening in your heart, your soul, your mind that makes it okay to let kids run wild? To exist without a clear understanding of right and wrong, of accountability, of responsibility; of what it means to represent your family name with pride, dignity and truth! You tell society “don’t discipline my kids, you have no right”. Well if your kids are disrupting the progress and the foundation of civilized society, then yes, members of society have a right to protect what they have earned: The freedom to exist without fear of their lives being upended by a generation that could care less about their future let alone that of others.
Michael Brown is dead. I am so, very sorry. How do you even attempt to make sense of the tragedy of losing a child? Only a heartless person could ever be anything but anguished at the murder of this young man. But rather than this futile (and destructive) focus on revenge, on burning down the community, on boycotting “Black Friday”, sit your sons and daughters down and TEACH THEM! Teach them their actions have consequences. Teach them not step into the crosshairs of the law. Teach them that most of the time, perception is reality. Teach them that the civil rights movement was about sacrifice through struggle, pain and death so that they would not have to experience senseless struggle, pain and death. People shed blood for you (for us) so you can now what, burn down stores (many of which are black owned)? Steal? Destroy an already battered community? And this is ok? This is justified? And then, tomorrow, what? What have you learned? What have you taught your children? We don’t get what we want so let’s wile out? You are setting them up to be another statistic. I promise you.
Instead of lighting a fuse, or tightening your purse strings for one day, why not empower your children with knowledge, principles, ethics, GOD. Because the long-term power of an educated, enlightened young man and woman will accomplish a whole lot more than not buying a $99 flat-screen because you have an attitude for a day until the next tragic, incendiary viral story hits the media. We need to get our minds right, because right now we are behaving as if we are out of our right minds. Life Is Not Complicated, You Are.