I’m finding it hard to think about anything else but the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri.
A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that his observation was that his conservative friends seem to be siding with the police, and his liberal friends seem to be siding with the victim and his family. That seems an accurate assessment of my Facebook and Twitter feeds as well.
I have little patience with the oversimplification of any issue to the point that it divides on party lines. I don’t blame anyone in particular (except maybe the general state of our country only having two major parties so maybe we should change that). I do uphold that justice should not be a liberal or conservative thing. It should be an everyone thing.
When even the most conservative reports are indicating that the officer in question shot an unarmed man, I’m not sure how one spins that to make it debatable. I’m not sure how a person says, “He shot him, even though he wasn’t armed, but…” There’s no “but” there. I want to shake everyone who is trying to do so and yell, “What if that unarmed man were your son? What if it happened in your neighborhood?”
This may be cheesy, but I keep seeing Matthew McConaughey at the end of A Time To Kill as he described the brutalization of the defendant’s daughter, asking the jury to picture what happened to her. He ended his argument with, “Now imagine she’s white.”
Imagine Mike Brown was white.
But that’s just another problem.
Should we have to imagine that shooting an unarmed man – regardless of who he is or what he has done – is within a different demographic to be appalled by the event? Should his skin have to look more like mine, or his voice sound like my voice, or his address be next door to mine, in order for me to demand that his death be investigated and the officer be brought to trial?
The answer is no – hell, no – just in case you were confused by my phrasing it as a question.
I’m not suggesting that we convict without all the facts. I’m not suggesting that we blindly believe everything we hear (although I am personally inclined to believe people who are in Ferguson, taking pictures with their camera phones, posting firsthand accounts without having to run it through the filter of it being their job, which automatically spins it one way or another). I’m not suggesting that we deprive the officer of due process (even though I understand the temptation to do so, as that’s exactly what he did to Mike Brown, according to even the most conservative reports of the event).
I am suggesting that we pay attention – that we never stop paying attention.
I am suggesting that we support people who have cause to press charges and people who have injustices to fight.
I am suggesting that we support them publicly by saying that we support them.
I am suggesting that we then put our money where our mouths are and support them financially so that justice can be for everyone, not just the people rich enough to buy it. Don’t know where to donate? Let me help you – The Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and the NAACP.
I am suggesting that injustice is an everyone problem and that we should act like it is.