Black Lives Matter.
I say that to forestall any who might accuse me of trying to marginalize that movement.
Not so. George Floyd, Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. Their lives mattered. Their family and friends are poorer because of their slayings. There are holes where there future accomplishments should be.
If you agree with me that Black Lives Matter, you might not even need to read further. Today’s goal is to educate the silent enablers of racists.
One of the foundational books of my life is God Is Red, by Vine Deloria, Jr. It created a synchronization with my mind and the words I was about to read that I have experienced only the once. An impactful book, it cemented in my mind the inherent importance of specific places in our lives.
Equally important over the past 45 years have been the appendices Deloria included. It was here that I first ran across Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas’ call for legal standing for nature.
That was the third appendix. The fifth was a listing of Native American tribes: what our ancestors called them; what they called themselves and what that name meant.
With two exceptions, the basic translation could be rendered as some variation of “The People,” meaning that other tribes were those “others” of less standing.
The two exceptions were the Iroquois, those of “the extended lodge,” and the Lakota, “the allies,” each of which were composites of tribes which had decided to unite. And, the Delaware / Lenni Lenape, the last tribe to join the Iroquois, called themselves the “True Men.”
“Chosenness” is not limited to old Israelites, Hitler’s Germany, Hirohito’s Japan or any other segregating nationality. We all think we’re pretty special. Ever hear of Manifest Destiny? And, we can become fierce in defending this specialness. Even the Hopi / Hopitu / the Peaceful Ones rose up and exterminated one of their villages when they thought its members were straying toward heresy.
But, we know better now. Elbow-to-elbow with each other, we recognize surface differences, but the kinship is undeniable regardless of how we approach the subject.
Let’s take the conservative religious approach that dominates American society. Reading the Bible tells us that we all come down from Eve through either Cain or Seth to Noah and beyond. If you truly believe that, the relatedness of humanity is right there to read. We are all cousins.
Comanche / Nemene / People
And, you hard-headed realists? Modern science with its DNA assures us there’s only one human race. We’re cousins to the blood and bone.
Cherokee / Ani Yun Wiya / Real People
Yes, we are all “real people.”
So, racists are either sinners or ignorant, maybe both. Not very healthy company to keep.
Chippewa / Anish Inaubag / Spontaneous Men
Who couldn’t use more spontaneity in their lives?
Any way you look at us, the story is the same. We’re all just distant cousins regardless of our names.
We will never learn to love“enemies.”The definition precludes that.Rather, we must understandand accept humanity’sessential connectedness and make old enemies friends. After all, they are cousins.
Tunica / Yoron / Those Who Are People
All of us are Those Who Are People. Cousin Lives Matter, Cousins.
Which means, of course, Black Lives Matter.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)