For love of domination we must substitute equality; for love of victory we must substitute justice; for brutality we must substitute intelligence; for competition we must substitute cooperation. We must learn to think of the human race as one family. —Bertrand Russell
As is my way, I have been reading a lot of pieces and articles in various publications to try to make sense of what is going on. Reading is no substitution for acting, but for me, anyway, it is an important first step. I might never succeed, but I at least want to attempt to figure out why things are happening the way they are. And what might be done to make our society a better, fairer place.
Below are some samples of what I have been reading.
From Vox, here is Terry Nguyen’s nuanced take on looting: There Isn’t a Simple Story about Looting.
Civil disobedience is frenzied and chaotic by nature. People who take to the streets might not all share the same beliefs: Some protesters are looting out of the same anger that drives the protests, and other looters are not protesters at all. But because it’s impossible to untangle every person’s motivations and intent, it’s much easier to lump them all into a group to create a narrative of the event that fits our understanding.
Not surprisingly, President Obama writes clearly and beautifully about protest and change. From Medium here is an excerpt from his piece How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change.
The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.
Finally, from my blogging friend, the inimitable Cynthia Reyes, who has put together an excellent list of suggestions and reading for those who want to go beyond expressing sorrow over all that has happened. (Full disclosure: One of my blog posts is featured.) The title of her post is 8 Specific Actions We Can Take. I’ve been making my way through her suggestions and links.
I started this piece with a quotation by Bertrand Russell. On the face of it, his words seem a little woo-woo, nice to read but not exactly a stern call to action. If it had a flavor, you might call it vanilla.
But think, for a moment, what kind of world we would have if leaders all over followed Russell’s advice.
Not perfect, which is impossible, but oh so much better than what we have now.
And despite the seemingly bland flavor, very, very difficult to achieve.