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Sunday, September 25, 2016
All Lives Matter: A Follow-up
All lives matter. Black lives matter, Asian lives matter, Hispanic lives matter, Native American lives matter, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Democrat, Republican, whatever divide or category you place us in. Intellectually, I think most white people get that, but I don't think we really feel that way. We are more; you are less. And, honestly, that is why so many of us are afraid.
Here in Montana, people of color are as rare as a grizzly bear sighting. Culture clashes are few. It's a white state, a heavily armed white state. And yet we tremble up here as if we were the epicenter of the whole racism issue. It is as if centuries of white dominance in Western Europe, transferred in blood to America's shores and then from sea to shining sea, may be coming to an end and we are fighting, tooth and claw, to keep that from happening rather than embracing a future in which color helps define us as individuals but no longer defines us in hateful generalities, and in which everyone – everyone – has a share in the decision making that affects everyone else.
President Obama reminds black people to vote. Progress itself is on the line. I want to see every American of voting age registered and voting. Lets let the world know who we are today, in 2016. Expose where we disagree, demonstrate where we agree. Celebrate our diversity, our patchwork quilt of ethnicities, cultures, faiths. But stand in unity for our most cherished principle: that all people are created equal, with the equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are not empty words, an unattainable ideal. They are the blood and breath of what America wishes to be.
And when you pull away from the quilt for a better look, you will see the portrait of Lady Liberty, standing at the entrance to America, standing tall against the smoke of hatred, bigotry, envy, and even terror. They cannot tear us down. Only we ourselves can do that.
In the meantime, perhaps we all should “take a knee.”
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..