We need leadership
Since early March we have faced unprecedented challenges, magnified by the pervasive uncertainty of when we can return to our previous “normal”. We fear lack of food. …
Since early March we have faced unprecedented challenges, magnified by the pervasive uncertainty of when we can return to our previous “normal”. We fear lack of food. We fear adverse health consequences from activities which we used to take for granted, such as a hug. We are deprived of human contact and interaction which brightened each day. If fortunate enough to still have a paying job, we nevertheless have many worries, including how to protect our family from COVID-19 and how to enable children to continue their education. We need trustworthy leadership to help us.
For many, every concern is magnified by racial overtones. One glaring truth remains certain - all people are NOT created equal. Racial disparity in COVID-19 health consequences results from the deplorable discrepancy in availability of health care to people of differing races. We need trustworthy leadership to help us.
Racism continues to be pervasive. George Floyd never had a chance to stay alive – he had a white officer’s knee on his neck for almost 3 minutes after becoming unresponsive while three other officers watched. Even Christian Cooper, despite having successfully attended Harvard and living in one of our most “liberal” cities, never had a chance to be free of the despicable false accusation of a black man assaulting a white woman. We need trustworthy leadership to help us.
There is no credible excuse for a three-day delay in arresting the policeman who had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Nor is there an excuse for failing to arrest the other officers who callously stood by watching Mr. Floyd die? When a crime is committed which is witnessed by the police, especially if memorialized on video, arrest and incarceration is always immediate – unless you are a white police officer. There is no need for “investigation” because basic facts are obvious, and the charges can be clarified or amended later. We need trustworthy leadership to help us.
Despite what is prevalent on TV, most of the protests have been peaceful expressions of justifiable outrage. I do not condone the recent rioting, arson and looting which is being fueled by those who have lost hope as well as the actions of a few anarchists. They are not merely reacting to Mr. Floyd’s death or the delay in arrest of the officers. Their reaction to racial discrimination is accentuated by their current economic plight which fuels their inability to see a path to a better future. We are all witness to a government which sends trillions of dollars to multi-billion-dollar corporations yet just throws crumbs to the truly needy. There is a justifiable mistrust of our leadership’s willingness to fairly react to incontrovertible facts and basic human needs. We need trustworthy leadership to help us.
Each day we witness the absence of effective and compassionate leadership from our president. Scientists tell us wearing a mask is important. Trump ridicules those who wear a mask. Instead of providing support to those grieving, Trump lays blame on the Mayor of Minneapolis. Trump’s failure of leadership is also evident in the racism embodied in his tweet which included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The absence of trustworthy leadership becomes more evident each day. I do not pretend to have answers to these vexing problems. But I do know our president is fanning the flames of mistrust, resentment and hopelessness. I hope the ballot box will save this country.
If you have never watched the movie, “The Great Debaters,” now is the time you should. In it James L. Farmer says in part, “My teammates and I saw a man strung up by his neck and set on fire. We drove through a lynch mob, pressed our faces against the floorboard. I looked at my teammates. I saw the fear in their eyes and, worse, the shame. What was this Negro's crime that he should be hung without trial in a dark forest filled with fog? Was he a thief? Was he a killer? Or just a Negro?
“Was he a sharecropper? A preacher? Were his children waiting up for him? But the law did nothing. Just left us wondering 'Why?' My opponent says nothing that erodes the rule of law can be moral. St. Augustine said, 'An unjust law in no law at all.' Which means I have a right, even a duty to resist. With violence or civil disobedience. You should pray I choose the latter.”
Right now in Minnesota people are not choosing the latter. They are choosing the former — violence — as a way to resist. You see, they have already tried civil disobedience for years and years and years. And where has it gotten them? It has gotten them and all of us to this horrible moment — to one picture of a white man with his knee on the neck of a black man.
Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, some white men just cannot bring themselves to value the life of a black man. Even as the whole world cries out for peace, some white men refuse to believe that “all men are created equal.” Even though our rivers ran red with the blood of civil rights leaders and individuals who dared to fight for their freedom, some white men just cannot grasp that they were not put on this earth to dominate another human being.
I have only one question, the one that is often asked when black people destroy entire neighborhoods to protest a particular injustice. We really should be asking it about white police officers who continue to act as judge, jury and executioner on our streets: “What is WRONG with these people?”
I just wanted to drop a quick note to you and offer my sincerest thank you for shining a light on our Blessing Bags Outreach Program here at Saint Miriam Parish and Friary in Flourtown.
We were humbled to be included in your special issue on COVID-19 and hope that your readers can help us to continue to fulfill our needed and vital mission of getting 600+ Blessing Bags out to those experiencing homelessness and those in need, or those suffering from food insufficiency each week. That means we have to come up with 600 bottles of water, 600 tuna pouches or other form of protein, snacks, fruit and other goodies to help our brothers and sisters in a time of need.
If I may be so bold, donations may be ordered online at www.MySaintMiriam.org/blessingbags or dropped off at the church in the Exterior Collection Box at 654 Bethlehem Pike (The corner of Church Rd and Bethlehem Pike)
Again, our sincerest thanks to all that you do there to educate the public during these uneasy times. Keep up the good work and I am praying for your safety and continued effort.
The story on St Miriam’s Blessing Bag Outreach during the pandemic brought to life the impact kindness can have for the homeless. I was touched by the bags’ delivery with kind words and love by the volunteers, especially the example where a possible suicide was prevented. That is Christianity.
Thanks to St Miriam Parish for all you are doing to help those who need it most. And to Barbara Sherf for the poignant storytelling.
Much thanks for the wonderful article on us ("ER doctor making masks; husband planting Hill gardens,” April 23). Thanks to the Local and your staff. In moving to Maryland, we are now missing having a high-quality local publication covering our neighborhood!