Silence is Violence

We all have views on the events that have unfolded recently; I’ll share mine.

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. (Frederick Douglas)

Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top. (Edward Abbey)

Our nation has never fully resolved the Civil War and the Jim Crow era that followed. All of us still pay the price for the original sin in the founding of our nation. What can we do in this historic moment beyond empty platitudes, thoughts and prayers, false empathy, and assurances of “We hear you” from politicians, CEOs, and others?

We need substantive societal changes to ensure that black lives matter. If I were our benign dictator, here’s my list of where to begin; please share yours.

  1. End cash bail.
  2. Commute the sentences of all prisoners currently incarcerated who are not a threat to society.
  3. De-criminalize drug use.
  4. Treat juvenile offenders as the juveniles they are.
  5. Give the death penalty a lethal injection.
  6. Equalize resources between public defenders and prosecutors.
  7. Investigate police misconduct by independent prosecutors from different jurisdictions.
  8. Re-set the imbalance of power between police unions and municipalities.
  9. Enact same day voter registration for everyone, including convicted felons.
  10. Provide a social safety net, health care, and pre-school for all of us.
  11. Lastly, let’s make peace with our ugly history and end the Civil War. Auctioning off monuments and statues would be a good start. Dishonoring Robert E. Lee would also help.

Our nation’s governors could enact most of these changes without legislation. If any of them did so, there would be dancing in the streets.

None of these suggestions are radical or original. Many are already in place in most western democratic societies. That’s part of our ongoing tragedy. It wouldn’t take much to show that black lives really do matter.

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Linda Caswell
Linda Caswell
3 years ago

Thank you, Jimmy. This list is right-on.

beate Becker
beate Becker
3 years ago

A very good list indeed, Jimmy – with the exception of auctioning off racist public monuments. Rather than fostering a whitemarket in supremacist art, why not start a public art movement – MONUMENTAL CHANGE – funded by corporations and diverted police/military funds, to transform existing statues into contemporary tributes to African-American history and non-violence? Alter them, add to them, melt them down and recycle them…. Check out the phenomenal work of A-A artists Kara Walker (Sugar Baby); Kehinde Wiley (Napoleon Crossing the Alps); Betye Saar; Theaster Gates; Simone Leigh – the list is long. Or pieces like the UN’s Swords… Read more »

Carol Marks Stopforth
Carol Marks Stopforth
3 years ago

Thanks so much Jimmy. I agree with every one of your points and the Frederick Douglas and Edward Abbey quotes say it all. Carol

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