If we’re lucky, 2017 will be remembered as the year America ripped off the scab and discovered a wound that hasn’t healed properly.
It began with black Americans declaring that the penalty for having a tail light out shouldn’t be death. Starting with a black quarterback who has forfeited the right to make a living at his chosen profession, a number of athletes decided they could no longer stand in good conscience for a song that tells them they live in the land of the free when they know they don’t.
It continues every time someone commits a public act of violence. If his name has a couple of a’s and a hyphen, it’s something we call “terrorism.” If his name is Bob, we declare it an isolated act we can do nothing about. Many of us are struggling to understand how an act can be made any more or less evil or acceptable by the name, religion or any other characteristic of the person committing it. By the way, for reference, more people were killed this year in America by guns fired by toddlers than by Muslim jihadists.
Then, some women reminded us what we’ve always known, but have chosen to keep hidden in the dark closet of shame, that too many men, particularly those in positions of power in the workplace or government, think women exist to give them sexual gratification, willingness be damned. “Why didn’t they speak up sooner?” They did, we just weren’t listening.
Now that we’re having these conversations, can we begin to heal the wound? Color me skeptical. Alabama residents recently decided that being a sexual predator was just slightly worse than being a Democrat, so perhaps there’s hope. On the other hand, last November, a number of Americans chose as their president the person they thought could return us to an America that wasn’t quite so black, brown, Muslim, female or gay as the one we have today.
But let’s end this Christmas Eve essay on a hopeful note. I’m not an especially religious person, but every year at this time I’m brought to tears when Linus stands under a single spotlight and quotes Luke 2, “I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people.” I hope I get to live in that America some day. Merry Christmas.