Kathy sat next to me last evening for dinner. She did last evening too. I’m staying at a retirement community in Redlands, we eat dinner at the common dinning room, Kathy is Connie’s neighbor, and she seems to enjoy my company. Actually, she seems to enjoy everyone’s company. Soft spoken, a former junior high PE teacher, Kathy has a large tumor in her abdomen. The doctors have done all they can, and she is calmly waiting to die. It will be very soon, she tells me. You will be okay, I tell her. It’s something I told my aunt the day she was dying, something I told my daughter. You will be okay, I say with all the conviction I could muster, more conviction than I normally carry with me. I believe I will too, she tells me.
I sip my coffee.
This morning on Facebook I post the following assertion: To say that all lives matter as a counter argument to black lives matter instead of as the warrant of the more complete argument—because all lives matter, black lives should matter too—is to miss the point of the democratic experiment. I hesitated when I posted it, because I knew the kind of blow back I might receive, blowback I didn’t want to contend with. A simple statement that should be obvious from my point of view, and yet I hesitated.
I find myself living is a Kafkaesque dreamscape where people rant about football players disrespecting the flag, many of them people who display the flag of the Confederate Army of Tennessee and who talked openly about secession or the armed overthrow of the American government when a black president held office. Point missers, Kristen would call them. If Trump is not elected, we will take up arms, some of them threatened before the election. If Trump is impeached, we will take up arms, they chant now.
You will be okay, I tell my daughter as I hold her arm and press my face close to hers, her O2 levels dangerously low, her blood pressure dropping. You are surrounded by angels in the room, I tell her. But my country, the one I grew up loving deeply—
I post a simple assertion, one that should stand the test of common sense and decency, and yet I hesitate.