The people’s right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances was “postponed” for security reasons. I do not claim to know the motives and fears of those who collaborated to postpone the Black Lives Matter event of June 6 at the state Capitol. Maybe some threats of violence were heard from the gun-toting mob that keeps President Donald Trump’s commandment to dominate the enemy. But the echo sounds a whole lot like the bigotry as usual that we have quietly tolerated in spite of the last peak of social unrest in the 1960s.
Trump has just announced that, if everybody just calms down and goes back to the old normal, everything will be fixed like magic. How often must we hear “It is not yet time for (fill in the blank).”
If the organizers and people of color reached consensus and decided, without coercion, to postpone an event, so be it. They will use this time to further the cause of justice in some other way.
But what would Harriet Tubman, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., or Mahatma Gandhi do? They were all lawbreakers, confronted by ruthless tyranny. When people are being murdered by their “protectors,” what have they got to lose by resisting and rising up? When their protests are met with escalating police brutality and confrontations with heavily armed vigilantes, where do they turn for justice?
It is hard for me to imagine that security for the communities of color will be served by letting this moment pass. Bowing their heads in respect for legal authority is simply not possible.
This year of 2020 is a time for clear, unflinching 20-20 vision. Black lives do matter. White lies do matter. It is time to purge our “history” of the white lies that define it. It is time to stop living the lies. They will not save us.
John W. Doyle