HAMLET (Speaking to his mother, Gertrude)

Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.

(William Shakespeare, Hamlet, scene III, act IV)

America let’s sit a moment and talk.  Sit still, while we hold up a mirror so that “you may see the inmost part of you.”

Are you pleased with the America that you see?  Are you pleased with how quickly you have grown, from an infant nation uncertain even in your founding, what exactly you would become?  And listen, anyone proclaiming that they (the founders) had any clue what we would become is either ascribing supernatural powers to themselves, or they are so ensconced in their own reality, with their own perceptions and interpretations of the events leading up to now, that they believe that this is what was intended.

The thing about looking into the mirror is that it takes our 3-dimensional past, displays it as a 2-dimensional image juxtaposed over and under by subsequent images past and present. We end up seeing the breath of the problem but not the depth.

As we look over the events of just the last few months, the abuses of authority, the shooting, the killing of unarmed Black and Brown Men and then juxtapose them over the events of the last few months, in Staten Island, Baltimore, in Ferguson, in Zion, in Cleveland, in Queens, in Pennsylvania, we see a conflation of actions that speak to insidious nature of the institutional racism that exists in our nation.

When we look at the disparity between the way white men and Black men are treated by the justice system what we are seeing is system stripped of all nuance and subtlety.  A system where a knee on the neck of George Floyd, a Black Man by a police officer, and a pat on the back and a bottle of water to Kyle Rittenhouse, a white man who had just been pointed out to police as a person who had just shot three people, killing two of them, are both looked upon, by some, as ok.

A system where Black People are so unvalued that Philando Castile, a Black Man can be shot 5 times and killed in front of his partner and her daughter.

Where Jacob Blake, a Black Father can be shot, in the back seven times, in front of his sons.

Where Breonna Taylor, a Black Woman, can be awakened from her sleep in the middle of the night, shot eight times and killed in her home.

Where Sandra Bland, a Black Woman can be killed in the custody of police for failure to signal in traffic.

All harmed by people sworn to “protect and serve.”

Where Treyvon Martin a Black Teenager can be killed for walking down a street in his father’s neighborhood. 

Where Ahmaud Arbery, a Black Man can be hunted down and killed for simply taking a morning jog.

These Black Men killed by vigilantes with no legal allegiance, just an allegiance to a cause of suppression and oppression of a people who have earned the right to live and be free.

It is the breath of this cause that it gives us pause.  Is this too difficult a task, is this beyond us?  It is the depth of this cause, though, that gives us reason, reason to continue this struggle.

What we are not seeing because of the confusion of that conflation is that, in the depths of the image is a shift in the look and the dynamics of it. In the cacophony of voices and sounds there has been a change in the tone and timbre. The cacophony has become a symphony.

What we must remember about a symphony is that it is more than just a song, it is a series of songs that become a movement. Movements that come together to tell the story, this story, a story of change.

The depths of racism in this country are so deep that at its core it is affecting all of America. Healthcare, education, housing, employment, business, these are all areas touched and influenced by what is a most insidious of affectations.

Racism is a disease of the heart. A disease not unlike the virus COVID19 in that it hardens the heart in much the same way that the virus does our lungs and other organs.

There is a cure, though, for this disease.  It begins with concern and compassion.  It continues with a commitment to caring.  Finally, a will to change.

  • Concern will lead to identifying where the roots of our problems as a people are.
  • Compassion will lead to empathy, the recognizing of another’s pain. To feel another’s pain. To walk a mile in another’s shoes.
  • Commitment to caring is where we lift one another up.  Where we replenish, refresh, and restore the faith of others and our faith in ourselves.
  • Combining these elements gives us a path to a cure to this curse we live with.

Now America, you are a young nation and in your short time you have grown strong and powerful. Strong in your capabilities and powerful in your influence. Look at what is the true source of your strength. Your strength historically has been your diversity. There have been many hands that have pulled the oars, tilled the fields, built the roads, the bridges, the cities.  These hands have come in many colors, they have come from many places but without any one piece this puzzle could not be made complete.

As with those hands, these hands I see raised in protest of our current societal issues are equally diverse.  It is not that we were ever all alone in this struggle, it is that there is a greater understanding of the components involved in it.  There is a greater awareness of how we must fit together, what our role in reconstructing the original founding intent and constructing a new one, a more perfect founding for a more perfect union that extends the promise of America to all its citizens 

This is a time for remembering.  We need to either remember the country we once were, or we need to remember the country we aspired to be. A more perfect Union, always looking to be a better version of us.

In the scripture Matthew 13:15, I believe I have found both cause and cure:

“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”

America let’s sit a moment and talk.  Sit still, while we hold up a mirror so that “you may see the inmost part of you.”


On May 23, 2014 in Isla Vista, California, Elliot Rodger murdered six people and injured thirteen others before taking his own life.  These words are from his “manifesto” e-mailed moments after he began is killing spree:

Elliot Rodgers
Elliot Rodgers

“I don’t know why you girls are so repulsed by me.” “I am polite. I am the ultimate gentleman. And yet, you girls never give me a chance. I don’t know why.”

“I deserve girls much more than all those slobs,”

“You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male.”

The e-mail titled “My Twisted World” and the video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” that he uploaded to Youtube speak to the personal issues Elliot was dealing with that led him to commit this horrific crime.

The Rodger’s family attorney stated that Elliot had been “receiving psychiatric treatment” for years for a never diagnosed mental illness.  Rodger claimed that he was “increasingly bullied” during high school.  After high school Rodger became more and more isolated, claiming that he was unable to make friends.  Women rejected him, men taunted and picked on him.  Not exactly the picture of an “alpha male.”

So exactly when did Elliot Rodger become ” the superior one?”  Was it when he picked up that semi-automatic handgun?  Did he become the “true alpha male” when he “racked the slide” and chambered that first round.  Was it when he stabbed and killed the three males in his apartment? Questions?  Yes.  But the answers can be found within the questions.

I don’t want to hear that three people were killed by stabbing, that most were injured by the car he was driving.  These are facts, but facts that belie the truth.

The truth is that having a gun was all the empowerment Rodgers needed to pursue his horrific agenda. Elliot had a beef with the girls who “never give me a chance.”  He had a beef with the “slobs” that get the girls he deserve’s much more.  All of these girls and slobs were having a party inside his head, and he wasn’t invited.  Poor thing. So he decided that he was going to show them.

So  now 7 people are dead, including Rodgers, more are injured and America is, once again, in shock.

Now some will say that “only” four people died directly from gunfire, the rest by stabbing and the injured were hurt by his vehicle, but let’s not continue to deceive ourselves.  The empowerment of this person was a direct result of having a gun.  The gun made him “the true alpha male.”

I wondered why Wayne LaPierre was, and is, so out front in defense of the NRA for it’s complicity in our gun violence problem.  I’ve concluded that this is by design.  As long as we see Wayne LaPierre and the NRA as the problem, we are not looking at where the real problems lay.  LaPierre and his cohorts are not the whole problem, a part of it perhaps, but, they are part of a planned mis-direction.  As long as we are looking at them we are not seeing that the real problem is living next door to us, driving down our streets, eating beside us in restaurants, sharing a pew in our churches.  “Good guys with guns,” becoming “bad guys with guns,” sometimes right before our eyes.

I’m not suggesting that we ignore LaPierre and his cohorts, just [that] we not become so distracted by them, by our animus toward them, that we not focus on “what is” the real problem.  The NRA hasn’t killed anyone.  They just sit back, relax, and then ultimately laugh all the way to the bank as we continue to fight for the right to kill one another.

They laugh because the joke is indeed on us.

They are the ringmasters in this circus, and we are the clowns.