We Don’t Even Respect Our Own Lives

I haven’t been blogging in the last few weeks. Mostly because I’ve been stewing over a realization I made. It was one of those things where you think, “gee, I don’t remember things being like this before.” And then you realize, if your really honest, there’s truly not anything new under the sun. And it makes you cry.
I was reading something about the upcoming, now delivered, decision from the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case. Specifically, I was thinking about the path society had taken to get to this place, and the role our lack of respect for human life played in that journey.
I’m not talking so much about the big “life” issues like abortion, human trafficking, and the death penalty, although those things certainly desensitize us to the miracle of human life. I’m not even talking about the so called “justice” for Mike Brown movement. And I’ll even be upfront and say while I sympathize with any parent’s loss of a child, I feel Mike was complicit in his own death.
What has truly amazed me is how within the tragedy that has befallen the two men at the center of his story, society somehow seems to think devaluing other lives will deliver justice. These actions truly illustrate how all sides of the argument are guilty of disrespecting life.
I heard the Rev. Jesse Jackson make a comment the other day when asked why destroying a community was just. He said Blacks were in pain from decades/centuries of discrimination, and that pain of such kind makes people do illogical things. I might be able to consider that, if the actions of protestors had not destroyed other people’s livelihoods, taken their life savings, put their lives in danger, and left them wondering how they had anything to do with Mike Brown’s fate. Now were terrifying Christmas shoppers and frightening children at Christmas tree lightings.
But it doesn’t stop with the antics of protestors. Those fed up with the state of the urban neighborhood, which has directly led to the impasse we now face, have not exactly been kind. It’s one thing to respectfully disagree with another’s opinion, but to pepper on-line comments with continual insults and slights during the debate debases the person on the other end. So you think their point of view is absurd. Maybe it is. But name calling and reverse race-baiting isn’t going to fix anything either. It just makes the other side less human to you. And you more racist to them.
Black lives are indeed valuable. But so are white, Asian, old, young, rich, poor, educated, simple, male, female, and all others. Not just in the physical state. There is value in all human emotion, dreams, achievements, failures, cultures and so on.
What really seems to be the issue, the one that made my cry, is that we are so desensitized that we don’t even value our OWN lives. Burning down your own community hurts YOU. Hurting other people destroys YOUR credibility or threatens YOUR freedom. And if your God-fearing like me, YOUR treatment of others requires a lot of explaining to the Creator.
But even more, we have spent the last few weeks showing our children that people of other races and cultures are the enemy. And that doesn’t bode well for anyone. We need to find ways to mend fences and fix trust issues. But that won’t happen until both sides own up to their shortcomings. And respect EVERY human life.

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