June 26, 2015: This weekend, I’ll be in the wedding party for two of the most beautiful people ever. I will be reading Walt Whitman. I will also probably be leaking tears of joy for the entire time, not least because of the context in which this marriage will be honored by the State. The news from the Supreme Court is wonderful, and I witness that wonder in a personal arena: two hands being held, two lives unburdened by legal discrimination. Two people who share plates and cups, the contents of a fridge, a bed, pets, all the daily routines of togetherness. What strikes me most about this struggle is that it is the victory of the ordinary (the lives of actual individuals) over the abstract (the idea of what marriage “traditionally” should be). I will bring an extra hanky as we celebrate this weekend. (Originally posted on Facebook in response to the SCOTUS ruling on 6/26.)
(After McKinney and hearing too many people say “Not everything is about race” as if somehow that would make it okay…)
Let’s say it’s not about race. If you take race completely out of the picture I think the evidence is clear–that particular officer brandishing a gun at nearly-naked teens is not fit for his duty; he has now resigned and that’s a good outcome.
Soooo even though I do think the event had something to do with racism, if I were wrong about that part my feeling would be essentially the same. If Dajerria Becton were some blonde white girl pushed to the ground in her bikini, I would still be horrified.
The job of the police officer is difficult, and not everyone is suited for the duty of protecting and serving. Sadly, this man in the video–he’s not behaving as one of those who match strength and compassion with calmness and integrity; for I have known such men and such women. Or if he ever was like them, he lost his way.
I can empathize with this person who is totally losing his shit in public, and wish privacy for his family and healing for whatever’s gone sideways in his heart.
But my sympathies are ultimately with the young, because even if they behave in unacceptable ways (which I don’t think these kids were, but even if I’m wrong) they are new in the world still. And because they shoulder the burden of our hopes–that the world will remain a living world, that our stories will still be told after we are gone–they deserve our kindness and not our fear. Our love and not our violence. Shelter and not rage.
They deserve better.