After a summer respite I had planned to resume my “Monday Blues” weekly post about beautiful things that can help cure those Monday Blues. These posts have typically been light with an aim of bringing a bit of beauty to the beginning of the week.
Today, I am experiencing the “Monday Blues” in the truest sense as I receive news that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has called in the National Guard into Ferguson, the suburb of my beloved city of St. Louis. Gov. Nixon has done so to help restore order to this beleaguered city that has experienced unrest, police brutality, the pitfalls of poverty, racism and now the destruction through looting and rioting by an unruly crowd.
The family of Michael Brown, who must be experiencing unspeakable grief, are unable to bury their son and grieve privately as they wait for a third autopsy ordered by US Attorney General Eric Holder to be performed on his body. Instead, they have had to put their grief aside and call on their community to restore peace.
Federal and local leaders are at odds on the legal process and seem to not be cooperating. The local St. Louis County police against the counsel of the federal authorities released video of Michael Brown seemingly roughing up a smaller sales clerk. The community distrust of the St. Louis County police is now at an all-time high and could take years to restore and that video is only a piece of the story.
The Ferguson school district has postponed the beginning of the 2014-15 school year citing safety concerns for area children thus tasking parents with finding decent childcare while they try to go to work.
In social media, #Ferguson has spread to remote parts of the globe and less insightful posters have created further division, polarization with ignorant and sometimes blatantly racist posts and tweets with no accountability. Media organizations, both social and traditional have at times forgotten their mission of fair and balanced reporting of the facts and creating misperceptions based on their bias.
Images of violence, grief and human behavior at its worst have been flashed around the world catalyzing vigils and demonstrations from New York to Los Angeles and London.
All of this has left me blue and with a heavy heart.
But it’s not about me.
It’s about social justice, racial divides, socioeconomic disparity and weak leadership.
Can these events inspire greater, rational discourse on issues such as education, quality childcare, police brutality, racial harmony and the qualities of a great leader?
It is my deepest wish that they will.
We can find the best of our selves to be inspiring, rational, mindful and kind to our fellow human beings,
That those who are destroying their community will stop and direct their rage to constructive actions,
That legal due process and justice prevail,
That Michael Brown’s family can grieve and find peace,
And that the children of Ferguson can go to school and find inspiration through education and become strong leaders.
Our city of Saint Louis is named for King Louis IX of France who was a canonized saint and French King.
He was known for his humanitarian acts and for reforming the French legal system, introducing the presumption of innocence into the legal process and banned trials of ordeal.
I hope that King Louis IX/St. Louis’ example of fairness and benevolence can be followed by the citizen of the city named in his honor.
I also hope that once and for all, the St. Louis Blues will be only a music genre and a stellar hockey team rather than a euphemism for civil discord and racial riots.