An Unfortunate Understanding

Can’t trust ’em.  They are going to look out for each other. No justice!  No accountability!

This statement could just as easily roll of the seething lips of a cynical black man as from a mollycoddled white conservative.  Though both men may feel worlds a part from one another.  Though the route, the experiences, the cultural narratives may clash.  Both could be united by a strikingly similar, deeply ingrained distrust concerning officials of justice.

Our first man is provoked by yet another shooting death of a black man by local law enforcment.  Our second incensed by the FBI Director’s recommendation that Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted.  Both feel fleeced–no rule of law, no justice.

It would miss the mark to interpret this as equating the two’s histories, grievances, levels of injustice or pain.  At best that would be foolish and unkind.  Rather, the point is to expose a common experience, a shared yet unwanted emotion.  Whether valid or invalid, both grieve abhorrent behavior of public officials and the absence of public accountability.  Both yearn for something better.

Bound by an unfortunate understanding, these two men, these two groups can leverage their indignation to decode the perspective of the other.  Perhaps white conservatives, awakened by new found clarity, can step into the rage soaked skepticism of African Americans.  Perhaps they are now able to genuinely walk in those shoes.  Perhaps they can entertain the thought,

Maybe this isn’t a petulant, thinly veiled, reverse racism of irresponsible, welfare loving thugs.  Maybe, this is real.  Maybe they have been robbed of justice too.  I think I understand.

Perhaps African Americans, can step into the ferocious disappointments and relentless frustration of conservatives.  Perhaps they can entertain the thought,

Maybe they aren’t tacit racists, seeking the superiority of their own by voting for an unhinged presidential candidate.  Maybe this is their desperate attempt after being robbed of justice too.  I understand.

What if the silver lining of this unfortunate understanding is the ability to turn off the propaganda tapes playing in our minds?  What if excuses, long used to ignore and assume, are now diffused, clearing the path to listen and understand?

Are there cops who are guilty of unjustified shootings and excessive use of force?  Should Hillary Clinton be prosecuted?  It’s difficult to ingest the length and breadth of evidence and conclude anything other than yes.

 I wonder if this unfortunate understanding could bind a frayed people to a renewal of justice.  Diversity can be a gift, but division always costs too much. What if the shared sense of injustice, commonly shared among our diverse communities, jerked us back to the understanding that unbound diversity is never best?  Unbound diversity can only lead to discrimination.

We can dance under the weight of diverse beliefs, diverse races and diverse customs, but we can’t endure the strain of diverse values.  There is no room in this great nation for a diversity in our valuation of justice.  There is no room in this great nation for diversity in the application of justice.  There is no room in this great nation for diversity in the meaning of justice.

Without respect for race, creed, color, class or clout…

  • There must be the same rule of law for everyone.
  • There must be the same protections under the law for everyone.
  • There must me the same penalties for everyone.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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