Ferguson, Missouri was licked by the flames of unrepentant grief and anger, when her son, Mike Brown, was judged to have been unworthy of being given a voice by the justice system which supposedly protects him and all Americans from the murderous excesses of society. A police officer, who by many accounts took unwarranted action unfettered by justification, was allowed the triumph of spilling blood in the street.
We revile the idea of violence. The violence of police, who seem less interested in protecting and more interested in assaulting. The violence of poverty, that causes a community to be sown with the seeds of despair. The violence of rage, unloosed with little provocation when the mood suits it. Violence in any form is despicable. We cannot condone the actions of those who thought bricks and bottles were appropriate counterpoints to grief and anger. We cannot applaud those who chose to punish innocent shop owners for the failures of a justice system by torches and thievery. No amount of violence makes the thing better or more palatable.
But we can understand.
For in the breast of every decent and compassionate American is a heart pounding, picturing a Black man sprawled on the ground, a White officer standing over him as rivulets of blood soak the pavement. Within that heart, our blood cries out to that blood, as it is forced to our brain, carrying the chemical equivalent of sorrow, grief, and above all, rage. Like the flames that devoured Ferguson, our anger flows into the tiny recesses of our brains, devouring hope and decency, leaving a furious ash, that would have us strike out and smite those who so gleefully revel in the actions of a rogue police officer.
We, too, are consumed by fire.
Mike Brown and Darren Wilson are far from symptoms of the wider scope that is a society still shot through with racism and hatred, unbent and undimmed despite a century-and-a-half's passing. They are the wound, that now should cause the blood of the body politic in America to flow, to bring the platelets that are required to heal the wound and the antibodies to inoculate us from further outbreaks of this malevolent disease that clings to life within. For when invaded, the body will turn to fever to try to burn away the invading organism, to deprive it of the conditions that allow for its growth. The cycles of fever and chills are meant to break the grip of the infection, to give the body time to build immunity.
So, too, must it be with Ferguson, Missouri. Let the fire smolder and let the chill of November descend. Let us cleanse the American body of this vile disease, which blemishes us and cripples us. Let it be known that no decent American will tolerate the denigration and destruction of any among us, no matter color nor creed. Let it be known that all who are citizens of America have equal rights under LAW, and where that law will not protect all, let us do what we must to ensure it does. Racism CANNOT prevail. We will NOT allow it. We will provide the antidote and the American body will take it in full measure.