A moment of silence, please

| July 15, 2013

Trayvon Martin is dead. A moment of silence, please…







George Zimmerman has been acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin and his life is changed forever. A moment of silence, please…







Observe that moment of silence and during it, pray for the affected families—pray for all of us. Too many people in the United States of America seem to believe that talking about a problem and talking at folks rather than talking to each other from the heart is going to solve our problems. A moment of silence, please…







Truth be told, I don’t read too many opinion pages, nor do I read or participate in Facebook debates—or should I say tirades since no one seems to be listening to each other—about politics, religion, social strata—or race. That’s because it’s about opinions and everyone has one, just like that orifice each of us has to eliminate foul-smelling waste material that would poison our bodies if we kept it inside. Maybe there’s something to be said for eliminating waste but, to be frank, I don’t think very many of us are comfortable having a bowel movement in public. So, it puzzles me, somewhat, that so many of us are inclined to take a dump out of our mouths on a day to day basis and let it end up in the collective consciousness of the people. Waste material belongs in a toilet—not in our minds, souls and conversations with each other.

Waste material. That’s what our voices become when the volume and pitch rises to the “screaming at you so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying” level. Your voice is wasted and so is mine.

This, however, is a selfish society. As long as I’ve got mine, I don’t care what’s left for you. If I win, and you end up emotionally, economically, physically or spiritually destitute, that’s all right with me, according to the prevailing American ethos; if you win and I’m left devastated, an empty shell, well, that’s just the way it is. Given that, there’s apparently no one sees the need to talk to others in a meaningful manner—at least that’s what all the trash talking seems to indicate in the wake of one of these “situations.” Consequently, nothing gets solved. We lurch through our collective life in this nation and this world in back and forth exchanges of verbal fisticuffs, battering each other about the soul and, at times, body, resulting in untold spiritual and physical damage. And, while there appears to be winners, truth is everyone is left with horrible scars in the wake of the battle—even the winners. Yes, they might gloat and celebrate  and justify how we were “standing our ground” and say, “I told you so,” but they walk away paranoid, aware that in this endless screaming at and talking past each other, another attack is coming. Maybe they’ll win again; maybe they’ll lose. Whatever the case even the winner won’t come away undamaged.

What’s the old saying? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity?  How would you feel if you went to the doctor sick with a treatable illness and the doctor told you, “I’m not going to try to cure you. I’m just going to give you something to feel better today but tomorrow, you’ll feel just as bad and maybe even worse.”  Most of us would be talking about changing doctors, maybe even trying to sue the first as a quack. By the same token, how could you expect even the most competent doctor to facilitate a cure if you lie about the symptoms and a medical history that might point to the root cause of the affliction? Yet, we are a nation plagued by treatable illnesses: lack of parity in the work market, decaying infrastructures, a damaged economic system, a gridlocked government with an incalcitrant attitude with regard to the people’s faith in them to solve problems, a hypocritical posture of proclaiming of spiritual principles yet failing to live by them when it comes to the less fortunate in our society and, yes, deep-seated racist attitudes about which we refuse to speak openly and honestly.

As community elder Brother Omowale-Ketu Oladuwa explained after telling how he had to spit out the bitter taste of the desire for revenge that had welled up in him after hearing the Zimmerman trial verdict, “We need healing, not revenge.” The bitter taste of revenge would only serve to poison us in the future. Healing, however, will never come until we can be truthful with each other about the symptoms, cause and nature of the disease.

We talk, we scream, we lie and we refuse to listen. And, we expect things to get better? Folks, we’re still fighting the same battles, arguing about the same things, refusing to honestly hear each other and acknowledge that each of us is damaged, in pain and unable to fully enjoy the gifts of life while we have to keep looking over our shoulders waiting for that “I got you!” moment from folks we should recognize as being in the same boat and ultimately as family. It ain’t gon’ work, folks.

That lack of really talking to each other and not just screaming is the reason Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman didn’t really know each other—no, not on a personal basis but on a human level. Perhaps had they known each other, there would have been a conversation instead of a confrontation. If they had, perhaps one would still be alive and the other would not be condemned to a life of constantly waiting for an “I got you!” moment that might not and should never come. Perhaps if more of us knew each other there would be no more unarmed Trayvon Martins dying from the bullets from the guns of George Zimmermans.

A moment of silence, please, for the next Trayvon Martin…







A moment of silence, please, for the next George Zimmerman…







A moment of silence, please, for us all.

Category: Frost Blog, National, Opinion

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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