Who Are You

Don’t read this. It’s personal and boring. It’s for my kids for when I’m dead so they have some idea of what I might be doing on a Friday night when they aren’t with me. If you read it you will have to share something that makes you vulnerable on the end of a week that has many so confused.
I live in a small town an ventured out tonight. After a week of solid writing about wars and shootings (no months or years of writing), I bumped into a few people that I barely new. When they asked what I did, I thought for a moment and gave a few false start answers then said, I’m an anti-war activist.
Something about how the anti-war movement is dead and I’m hoping it’s looking at the white light and about to be revived.
They were generally interested and all believed that our government is a corporate oligarchy. Both are white, in their forties and well educated. The whole town is white. Most of the people in the streets hadn’t a care in the world about what was going on. I thought man I’m more in Ankara (capital of Turkey) than Carbondale. I see policy instead of street lamps.
There were fundraisers for different local enivormental charities and I fought off a disillusionment of luxury status charity. I’m so new to this area and spend more time thinking about the Middle East than open space.
An hour walking around I notice that I was still out of sorts with the people and conversations, maybe from too much writing. Maybe because I feel like I’m Sisyphus, pushing a stone uphill and watching it roll back and doing it again and again.
I was speaking, listening and writing in my head all at the same time. It was like sailing for days, getting off the boat and walking with that feeling like I’m still moving. I wanted a way to understand what we were thinking. I wanted to find a inner thought.
I deeply listened to each of the different people in different conversations. And, began saying something slowly out loud, “we are white guys who won the birth lottery and well educated. If not us who? If not now when?” I had always known this, but because of the intensity of the past two weeks of expanded war, mass shootings and a murder convictions of a police officer, I felt it grab me. Who are we?
If white middle upper class aren’t taking the hit for the injustices why do we think as the separation of rich and poor increases and war is defined as endless that our children won’t be the next victims. I tried to make it about them/us/me. I tried to make it about our privilege and responsibility for having been given so much. It came out soft and mindful (for me;).
I spoke with a friend on Skype tonight who is Pakistani and lives in London. I have conversations with new friends around the world and from all walks of life. I hear over and over again how they have been unjusticely treated because of the color of their skin. Each story is so intense.
I learned all about this as a boy in grade school. When I was old enough to represent the poor and minority, I was fortunate enough to do it. I’ve been called an elitist by minorities for thinking I could help and bleeding heart socialist by conservatives. Whatever?
My mind went deeper into how the people I know the best now days are writers, artists, activists, whistleblowers, and victims of injustices around the world. It won’t be this way forever, I’m sure and…I don’t need a conclusion to this story.
I’m just writing to you Maya and Matteo to let you know how much I love you and that the road is long and winding, make sure you look beyond the horizons and not worry if you will see what on the other side, but whether you will be able to serve justice wherever injustice resides.
When they get past race it will become about class. -Malcolm X