Not since September 2001 has the Thanksgiving holiday been so fraught. The terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Paris, France, Kenya, Nigeria, and Mali on the one hand and the domestic terrorism in Colorado and elsewhere has many of grateful to be lucky enough to not be in harms way when these attacks take place. But it is the ongoing revelation of the criminality of police officers across the U.S. that is so troubling. The murder of Laquan McDonald by a police officer, the released video (there are 4 others) which was clearly tampered with, the year long coverup even as the officers responsible for the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore go trial and the officer who killed Tamir Rice is still walking around. These are not “bad apples”–these are police officers armed to the teeth who are protect and serve the citizens of their cities and towns, but seem to think that mostly young Black males are unworthy of protection or service. Families across this nation sat around tables dealing with the trauma of these multiple losses and many joined others in protest in Chicago and elsewhere on “Black Friday”. I am too poor really to even deal with shopping, but I was glad to see people locked arm & arm on the Magnificent Mile in solidarity against the #culture of cruelty as Sharon Mesmer puts it. There are plenty of criminals and terrorists killing people, the police do not have to add to the roster (yes this calls for a great deal of sarcasm).
I am thankful for many things including my brother, sister, their children and grandchildren (my many nephews & a couple of grand nieces), cousins, et al and many good friends in the city and around the world. And social media keeps us connected in good ways, but social media brings us very close to actions like the Paris attacks & yes I have friends there, all okay.
When I leave the services at Saint John’s in Park Slope, we ask that the good lord “Grant us peace.” And I so want us to start to demand the many ways possible to make peace more prevalent and sustainable. All of these wars and our participating in them is not getting us any closer. I cannot imagine life in Syria or Afghanistan or parts of Pakistan or Nigeria or even Venezuela, but greater escalation does not seem to be making the world “safer.” Prayers are needed, but so too action. The empty shoes of protesters on the streets of Paris are but one indication of creative ways to say to those in power that THINGS MUST CHANGE and the time is now. Will they? Discontented I leave you. And slightly hopeful.