“It’s not the quest of finding who is right or wrong… it’s about what do you really stand for”
This week the venerable Smithsonian Institute opened its National Museum of African American History and Culture. A slave cabin from South Carolina, similar to the one I captured in the photo above, was dissembled and reassembled piece by piece. At its opening, the museum was dedicated by our country’s first black president. Whether you are an Obama fan or not, the significance of the moment should not be lost on anyone.
Despite tremendous progress, it is a troubled time in our history. Battle lines are drawn and judgements being made. Protests erupt and the media fans the flames. Everyone has an opinion shaped by personal experience which oftentimes varies exponentially from their neighbor’s. FDR’s famous inaugural speech seems particularly pertinent to our present situation. “…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
It is time we addressed the roots of our fear. The simple truth is that most of us want one set of rules imposed equally upon all. Most of us want fairness in our system of justice as issues are explored and resolved. Most of us want bigots to be silenced and incendiary rabble-rousers to go away. Most of us want less speculation by the media and more emphasis on objective reporting. Most of us want our energies focused on fighting common enemies rather than each other.
Sadly, the fears of many are not unjustified, but most of us believe they can be addressed and overcome with understanding and a focus on change. There will always be some number of bad citizens, bad cops and bad judgement in the line of fire. But most of us are inherently good. Personally, I choose to believe that the goodness of the majority will rule. I choose to believe that our advances will eventually take us to a harmony that is not yet beyond our reach. What about you? What do YOU really stand for?