I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but the subjects that have been on my mind were just too painful and too depressing to address. Only now am I able to mentally process the events of the last few weeks in a way that allows me to see through the fog of anger and hate.
The truculent killing of black American church goers by Dylann Roof can be credited with the decline of my own humanity. And this shames me a great deal. I cannot remember the last time I was filled with such hate. Those that know me know that I am not a turn-the-other-cheek kind of guy and I am devoid of forgiveness. My hate is omnipresent and directed at no one person or group of people in particular. I just feel hate. At the moment, my cup is overflowing with darkness and I am less human today than I was on June 16, 2015, the day before the shooting.
I refuse to include a picture of Roof in this post as I can’t bare to look at him. A palpable evil rises off of him like a lifting fog. Physically, his face reflects a dullness reminiscent of a lead-paint baby and a hopelessness that is beyond my comprehension. I can’t imagine what those eyes saw as he snuffed out the lives of God-fearing people celebrating life and love at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Did he see Susie Jackson’s 87 years unfold before him as he let loose the bullets? In that moment, did he hear any of 74 year-old Daniel Simmons sermons? Could he see visions of a 23 year-old Clementa C. Pinkney being sworn into service as the youngest African American elected as a South Carolina State legislator? Would he have pulled the trigger if he had known these people?
Weeks after the shooting, we find ourselves encircling a red herring in the form of a flag. This country is obsessed with symbolism and is lazy when it comes to addressing root cause. Businesses, politicians and major organizations call for the removal of the Confederate flag from shelves and flag poles citing its representation of hate and bigotry. People and businesses scurry with alacrity to disassociate themselves from Donald Trump for bigoted statements made in announcing his candidacy for POTUS. Same sex marriage is ruled legal in all states by the highest court in the land. And amid this national Kumbaya moment, black churches (6 as of this writing) have burned down to the frames and foundation in subsequent weeks. If the flag comes down en masse tomorrow, the hate in people’s hearts will continue.
I don’t have any answers to this deeply complicated and nuanced issue. I have to concentrate on surviving a world in which you can be shot dead worshiping a god. A world where you can be robbed of due process. Where you can be cheated out of watching your child grow to his/her full potential. A world that, at times, asks for far more than it gives. For the moment, what spark of light left in me will be focused on eliminating the hate that hate produced.