It was in 1971 that John Lennon released his song, Imagine, during a time of intense political and civil unrest. It was an era of injustice, war, discrimination and persecution, and Lennon imagined a world without hate. Without racism. Without inequality. And as I read the headlines these days, I feel compelled to speak out, because I feel that’s what’s needed.
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t watch the video that went viral depicting the murder of George Floyd. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. But the images that circulated quickly afterwards spoke volumes. What happened was an act of brutality, and the world watched as a man in a position of power and authority stole the life of an unarmed, nonviolent African American.
And what we’re seeing now, in the streets of cities across America, is the result of years of frustration, anger, and division. What we’re seeing hasn’t been seen since the civil rights movement. And even still, this is unprecedented… because the anger has since intensified and spread. Now we’re seeing an entire nation, not solely black Americans, but all Americans of every race, gender and faith taking to the streets.
And honestly, I can’t say that I disagree with their frustration.
The divide has only grown. The gaps between various communities, various economic groups, and various political movements have become so staggering that inequality has become a norm. And our desire to categorize people and stagger them along a vertical axis has left a lot of people feeling abandoned. It’s left a lot of people feeling afraid, and uncertain. And it’s led to groups of people seeing themselves as more equal than others.
So, I can’t say that it’s a surprise that so many have taken to protesting.
What some people fail to realize is that regardless of the color of your skin, or which God you choose to believe in… regardless of your sexual orientation… or where you stand on the economic scale… we’re all human beings. There is no “more” or “less” when it comes to humanity. And I think the moment we choose to make ourselves out to be better than one another, is the moment that we truly lose touch with what it means to be human.
And deep down, we all know this is true. Many choose to ignore it. Many choose to brush it aside and let ego and the illusion of superiority take control. But superiority is just an illusion.
What isn’t an illusion, however, is that we’re human beings. And what it means to be human is to demonstrate compassion, love, companionship and unity.
So, what it’s come to now is a “them” vs. “us” mentality, instead of a “we” mentality. And it’s not limited to ethnicity, it’s everywhere. It’s elitism on the political stage. It’s greed and hunger for power on the economic front. It’s everywhere.
And the frustration with today’s inequality has bubbled over. It’s reached the boiling point and I really don’t see how society can return to its old ways. I’m hopeful, at least, that a lot of much needed changes come from the massive demonstrations of activism all over the United States.
I think a big part of the problem during times like these is that a large part of the population remains silent. They may be in favor of change. They may support the movements striving for equality. They may retweet or repost messages of solidarity and unity. But today I asked myself: is that enough?
And the answer is… no.
So, I felt compelled to write this, with the hope that one day we’ll all see each other in a different light. With the hope that through adversity and struggle that positive change is possible. With the hope that decency and humanity will triumph over the long legacies of hatred and the people who continue to fuel it.
I like to imagine that one day this will be possible.
I like to imagine that one day…
The world will live as one.