July 12, 2020-
Jessica Whitaker never made it home, early in the morning of July 5, as she walked with her boyfriend and two other friends, in Indianapolis. She told a group of people, who were supporting Black Lives Matter, that she felt “All lives Matter”, leading to the sort of argument that has become all too common, these past several months. The argument ran its course, the two groups went their separate ways and then, someone gunned Jessica down. It is still unclear as to whether the shooting was directly related to the argument, or was committed by an opportunist, seeking to tie BLM to violent crime.
There are wirepullers, agitators, working both sides of the fear-ridden fence. Sloganeering draws such individuals, who have no strong commitment to the beliefs expressed by either side, but who like the mayhem- or the control over one group or the other- or over both groups. I saw this in the 1960’s, when right wing agitators infiltrated the Weather Underground, Students for A Democratic Society and even the Black Panther Party (Yes, there are a few right wing agitators who happen to be Black.) There were, conversely, left-wing agitators who followed Young Americans for Freedom around and behaved badly.
There are those who seek power and control, also with scant actual commitment to one cause or another. Their aim is to create disturbance and to set ordinary people against one another. Then, laws and ordinances can be established, curbing people’s freedom of expression.
I have no dog in the fight over “Masks vs. No Masks”. There is a time and place for wearing masks; a time and place for not wearing them. I will not argue with anyone on either side. It is a prime example of people letting someone manipulate their feelings.
I feel that all life is sacred and have lost friends for having said that adoption is preferable to abortion, while I still maintain that it is a decision best made by the person who is carrying the child. I also remember that, when I was a child, I was the oldest of five and there were times when one of my siblings had needs that eclipsed mine. It’s the same, in my view, with Black Lives Matter. Had more people conducted themselves as if that phrase were embedded in their consciousness, the slogan would not have been deemed necessary and would not have gained traction. Those who seem to need protection are those who deserve immediate attention.
The pendulum has swung back a bit, with the killing of Jessica Whitaker. I don’t hear any Black people saying that she does not deserve justice. Quite the contrary, BLM seems to realize that its credibility is on the line. Hopefully, the social justice movement will see the rights of a now motherless three-year-old and justice for his mother, as equal in value to the rights of those treated so egregiously in Black, First Nations and Latino communities.
I see this as yet another wake-up call, and it is for those who too readily follow one side or another, to re-assess any and all movements initiated too quickly by power brokers on both the Right and the Left.
We, the People, need to take back responsibility for our lives and not be so ready to follow the loudest, or wealthiest, voices in the room.