If All Lives Matter

Castile Traffic Stop Freeze Frame
If ALL LIVES MATTER, the Castile videos would’ve enraged you. But you’re silent because ALL lives truly don’t. That’s just something you say.‬‬

‪If ALL LIVES MATTER, you’d feel about Castile the same way you feel about Warmbier. You’d be as revulsed by this verdict as you were by O.J’s.‬

‪If ALL LIVES MATTER you’d shout the names Castile, and Martin, and Brown, and Rice, and Sterling, and Garner, and Crawford and – and – and – the whole flippin’ lot of them! – you’d shout about them with equal fervor, and intensity and vigor as you’ve bellowed for years about four other Americans who died in Benghazi. ‬

‪If ALL LIVES MATTER, the NRA would be unhinged right now at how a law enforcer treated this lawful Minnesota gun owner and carrier who did all the right things in his encounter with police and still — lost. His. LIFE.‬

‪Constantly, you become incensed, bristle, chastise, correct, resist, reject the suggestion that anything short of ALL LIVES MATTER is an affront to blue ones, white ones, red ones’ lives.‬

‪But now, this time, you’re conspicuously silent because you never really meant ALL lives truly MATTER. That’s just something you say to mute those of us who say BLACK LIVES do indeed MATTER.

-Jonathan Clarke, June 21, 2017

(c) Copyright 2017, Jonathan Clarke, All Rights Reserved


Stony the Road, The Rebirth of Hope

img_6607There’s an arresting passage in James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, aka the Black National Anthem, that paints the historical black experience in vivid and heart-rending strokes. It says:

“Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope
Unborn had died…”

Pause to imagine that. Imagine a moment so horrifically bleak as to kill the very opportunity to ever know hope — to never be hopeful.

If we accept hope is existence’s lifeblood, or at minimum that force which impells us toward a new day – the thing that urges us to reach down and push forward one more puff of air when we’d rather stop breathing – then what must it be like to have that stolen from an entire race of people? What of the generations that ascended believing the very act of hoping was meaningless and futile – that the mere glimpse of hope was dead on arrival, that it died in utero?

That is the barren land from which our fertile crops have grown. To begin to understand the descendants of African slaves’ present circumstance and celebration, one must appreciate that they have emerged from and have been propelled beyond such a time as that.

The greatness of our greatest leader, or achievements of our most accomplished doers or perils over which we prevail daily find their seed and root and stem there. In that place, we have learned to discover hope at despair’s tombstone.

From a place of hopelessness have we mightily come forward. Now, the conversation may begin.
-Jonathan A. Clarke

(c) Copyright 2017, Jonathan Clarke, All Rights Reserved

Donald’s Sound and His Fury. Can You Hear Me Now?

img_6439THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING! Where are the voices that once roared with chants of “EXECUTIVE OVERREACH?!” Where are you who, in times not long past, writhed in apoplectic fits and launched court challenges whenever our last president dared exercise the most basic of his constitutional mandates — the executive order?

How dare you stand by mute as this rogue, small man scrawls his ugly name across our precious parchment and commits this nation to its most vile and un-American posture in generations? Where are the PATRIOTS?

And how about those of you who sat home Nov 8th or recklessly tossed your franchise to 3rd party candidates who hadn’t the thinnest expectation of victory? Where does your flag of principle wave today?

Weren’t you the ones who said your vote didn’t matter? Wasn’t it you who claimed 4 years of Trump wouldn’t irreparably harm us? Four years? How about four months, four weeks, four minutes? You exchanged alternative candidates for alternative facts.

Where are the ones who enrobed this man in the shawl of preeminence and set loose his fury on our land? Where are you hiding today? Why are you mum?

He tried time and time and time again to convince you he wasn’t ready, he was unfit. Yet, you ignored his pleas to bar him from government. And now we collectively get what we “deserve” while you sit in silence — the ones of you who are bright enough to stay so.

To the remainder of you who raise your Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars, if you prefer) and lift your hateful voices to cheer on this tyrant, we say: Shut Up and Sit Down. You’ve done enough harm.

Leave us to holler and howl and bellow in peaceful protest. Hush while we sound dusk’s alarm and beckon our rescuers.

Stay out of our way as we try to stay afloat and keep from drowning.

(C) Copyright 2017, Jonathan Clarke All rights reserved