I believe in America, its promise and its endless possibilities. I also know that, in America, people live in abject poverty, without adequate schools, and in fear of deportation.
And I know that there are as many Americas as there are colors of skin, nationalities, religions, sexual identity and orientation.
We live in a fractured America. Some of us cross any number of the shards. Some, like me, can pass as Christian and straight. If I even wanted to do so. I am too old to hide. But I am lucky; I have a choice.
But is any of us satisfied with this type of America? Don’t we get tired, after every miscarriage of justice, of assuaging our horror and guilt, by saying, rather apologetically, “but there are good and kind people all across this country”?
Look, everyone has prejudices. But that isn’t supposed to matter. The point is that America is supposed to be one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Justice. Justice. Justice.
It isn’t just a word. It is the basis of our nation.
It means that even if you steal, or sell cigarettes illegally, you don’t deserve to be tortured or killed. Even more, you deserve treatment in accordance with the pettiness of the crime committed. In other words, there shouldn’t be a bruise on you.
I was taught that wrongs will be done, but justice, JUSTICE, will prevail.
I believed in that. I placed my faith in the systems of “justice” and government. Because two generations ago, this country took in wretched poor refugees and gave them opportunities for work and their children a free education. I grew up hearing, “G-d bless America.”
I still say, “G-d bless America,” except now I also say, “G-d save America”.
Because when our systems of laws and order fail, fractures of our nation becomes shards of glass on the floor. Almost impossible to reassemble, but stronger if we glue the fragments back together.
Let us all glue this nation back together so that it is again: “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Rest in peace, Mr. Brown and Mr. Garner.