When I think of the torment, the hate crimes, the wars and the genocide that exist in the world today, it is not hard for me to see what lies at the root of it all. I see the injustice imposed by the majority on those in the minority. I see the injury inflicted on the weak by the powerful. It is painful to think that to some, the idea of a difference in beliefs, a difference in opinion, a difference in ethnicity, is so intolerable that it is worth taking another human life.
More and more often, I find myself wondering…
How many lives could be saved?
How many brothers, daughters, mothers and husbands might still be alive…
… if we could all just learn to live and let live?
“The victim of a hate crime may be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole.
“The Death of Emmett Till”
“Twas down in Mississippi no so long ago,
When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door.
This boy’s dreadful tragedy I can still remember well,
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till.
Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up.
They said they had a reason, but I can’t remember what.
They tortured him and did some evil things too evil to repeat.
There was screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds out on the street.
Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain.
The reason that they killed him there, and I’m sure it ain’t no lie,
Was just for the fun of killin’ him and to watch him slowly die.
And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial,
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till.
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime,
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind.
I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
The smiling brothers walkin’ down the courthouse stairs.
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free,
While Emmett’s body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea.
If you can’t speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that’s so unjust,
Your eyes are filled with dead men’s dirt, your mind is filled with dust.
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it must refuse to flow,
For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!
This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan.
But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give,
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
– W.B. Yeats
As recently as 1981.
Remember Michael Donald?
On Saturday 21st March, 1981, Bennie Hays’s son, Henry Hays, and James Knowles, decided they would get revenge for the failure of the courts to convict the man for killing a policeman. They travelled around Mobile in their car until they found nineteen year old Donald walking home. After forcing him into the car Donald was taken into the next county where he was lynched.
Judy Sheper had this to say on hate.
It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since Matthew’s death. So much has changed yet so much remains the same.
So much remains the same.
Great advances have been made in changing people’s attitudes and eliminating ignorance about the gay community even in my wonderful state of Wyoming. At least I thought so, until I read the readers’ comments following an article about the ten year observance of Matt’s death in the Cheyenne, Wyoming newspaper.
I understand that the readers who take the time to write in are doing so because they absolutely disagree with the article and those who do agree won’t bother to write comments. However, it brought home to me how much work is left to do to make the world an accepting place. The level of ignorance is astounding. The continuing belief that what happened to Matt was not a hate crime and the notion that ‘special people shouldn’t have special rights’, is beyond my comprehension. The level of ‘hate’ is frightening.
Seen him playing in his backyard
Young boy just starting out
So much history in this landscape
So much confusion, so much doubt
Been there drinking on that front porch
Angry kids, mean and dumb
Looks like a painting, that blue skyline
God hates fags where we come from
‘Western skies’ don’t make it right
‘Home of the brave’ don’t make no sense
I’ve seen a scarecrow wrapped in wire
Left to die on a high ridge fence
It’s a cold, cold wind
It’s a cold, cold wind
It’s a cold wind blowing, Wyoming
See two coyotes run down a deer
Hate what we don’t understand
You pioneers give us your children
But it’s your blood that stains their hands
Somewhere that road forks up ahead
To ignorance and innocence
Three lives drift on different winds
Two lives ruined, one life spent
It’s a dangerous game that many insist on playing.
Jewish voters warned not to ignore the warning signs
A new e-mail making the rounds among Jewish voters in Pennsylvania this week falsely alleged that Mr. Obama “taught members of Acorn to commit voter fraud,” and equated a vote for Senator Barack Obama with the “tragic mistake” of their Jewish ancestors, who “ignored the warning signs in the 1930’s and 1940’s.”
The fabrication of “news”, or the twisting of the facts, or of the context, or of the timeline of an attack or attacks that “real” America, conservative America, “patriotic” America, or “white” America, a “God loving” America as they choose to define it, has sustained, or will suffer, if a Democrat, particularly a black man with an unusual name, is elected president.
Many of us feared the worst when the hoax news broke.
I apologize for my earlier comments making light of Ashley Todd’s mental health. People are sensitive (at least I am) and a bit outraged at what is going on with the McCain campaign.
I fear for Barack Obama’s life.
It isn’t about us, it’s the situation. Right, or wrong, and I’m not saying one way or another, people are very angry because Todd’s actions could have provoked a hate-crime.
This is just very very raw territory. Difficult to calm down but I should of known better than that.
We have to stick together peeps. This is not going to be easy.
But we have to push hard.
For our children.
For this great country.
I’ll let the next President of the United States of America finish that thought.
E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America – there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too:
We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States.
We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
We Are One People
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?
Let’s get Barack Hussein Obama elected to the White House.