In Louisiana and Minnesota, police tragically killed two innocent black men. Later that same week, the city of Dallas was held hostage as a vile murderous reprehensible individual ripped asunder the hopeful futures of five brave police officers, who were ironically protecting the rights of a crowd protesting the deaths of the two aforementioned black victims. Of course these are not the only examples of violence tearing through our national fabric of late. As President Obama said while consoling a grieving, shocked city at the memorial, “I’ve been to too many of these.”
The loss of any life is a loss to more than one.
Those who were touched or inspired by the victim’s actions, the loved ones and co-workers, are in many ways more damaged than the victim. After all, as horrific as is a killing, it is an end for the deceased. For those who soldier on, there is shock, grief, and an overpowering loss. The feeling of victim-ness is cancerous, spreading far and wide, destroying silently from within, resulting in a need to find reason or to lash out.
I’ve thought long and hard about whether to venture down this road this week because my fear is that people will misinterpret what I say (based in large extent on the theory I’m about to propose). After all, my intention when I write is to uplift and inspire; hopefully tossing in a few chuckles now and then. It is very difficult to go to that place in this instance, as these recent actions illuminate that something is horribly, desperately misaligned.
Nonetheless, here I am.
Whereby the violence and bloodshed are ghastly and unjust, their ferocity and resultant name-calling belies a deeper problem; a bedrock on which this viciousness is built. It is an all-or-nothing, right-or-wrong, up-or-down, my-way-or-the-highway, thought meme infecting society.
It is past time to accept that multiple realities can — and do — exist in the same sphere, each accurate even while in competition with each other.
There is room for many while still not having to crowd out others. I believe many are unfairly persecuted while at the same time I possess immense respect for police who everyday willingly risk their lives to protect me. I admit I am not that brave.
We can believe that too many people of color are hurt at the hands of law enforcement while still also believing that law enforcement does an excellent, difficult job in perilous circumstances. I can and do believe that law-abiding black men should never be killed, while also finding it equally spot-on that police officers deserve — and are entitled — to return home to loving families at day’s end, unafraid of a sniper’s bullet or being shot in their squad cars. It’s a matter of respect for all.
We must be courageous and open enough to accept others’ realities, while not so bull-headed to expect that our perception is the One Universal Truth applicable to all without variation. Yelling over others doesn’t make me more truthful. Might does not equal right.
My personal perceptions are filtered through a prism of being a white middle class, aging, educated, hetero, happily married male, living in a (mostly) safe neighborhood in a small, beautiful relatively progressive area. I simply can’t know what it’s like to be a man of color residing in the inner city, nor a dedicated police officer striving diligently to protect a large community, any more than I can understand what it is to be a conservative elderly Baptist woman in the Bible Belt, or a wealthy gay Asian executive in San Francisco.
My life view doesn’t make me wrong – and it equally doesn’t make me right. It merely makes me who I am.
As part of that perception which I call “reality”, I also personally believe that others with differing viewpoints can be equally accurate for them. Denial solves nothing. Only through compassion, comprehension, and non-fearful, lovingly honest discussion, will we find the common ground to create a more inclusive, supportive, cooperative society that works for all.
That’s what I believe.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching and speaking. His new book (co-written with his sister), “The Busy Baby Boomers Motivational Guide to Weight Loss” is now at www.BabyBoomersGuides.com