Writer Without a Clause: All Life Matters
About half an hour ago, while sitting in my travel trailer that I now call home, I decided to go outside and build a campfire. I learned how to do this without using combustibles, such as lighter fluid and paper.
I proceeded to do so. First, I took several minutes to shave thin pieces of wood off a single stick. Then I collected twigs that were about one-sixteenth of an inch thick (0.16 cm). Soon I had an adequate pile of branches. The small flickering flame that took hold of the shavings became a raging bonfire.
As I coddled the initial flame on the shavings, I thought, small flames matter. There is no bonfire without first building a small fire. I am a small flame—my life matters.
The world is using these words in a variety of ways today. The movements described, in my opinion, deserve our support. Which one should we support? That answer changes from time to time.
I once heard a speaker talk about raising children. Someone asked which of his children he loved most. I found the answer to be profound. He said that he loved the child most that was hurting the most at that time.
In our modern world, many people are hurting. They represent races, sexual orientations, and religions. Many of us run to the aid of some of these groups. Others run to all of them. Still, others avoid all of them simply because they are different.
Currently, in America, the black race, our black brothers and sisters, if we are of any other race, are hurting the most; therefore, we love and support them most. This doesn't mean that other races don't matter. I think most mature people get that. Right now, it is true. Black Lives Matter.
Fear: The Root of White Supremacy
But this takes me back to my original premise as I crouched by the campfire—my life matters. We are surrounded by people who have not accepted this essential truth of humanity. They do not believe that their life matters, and if their life does not matter, then no life matters. This psychological deficiency may be the root of many social problems.
People commonly understand white supremacy in the following way: "I (white person) am superior to you (non-white person). But is this really what is at the heart of white supremacy?
I want to suggest that at the heart of every white supremacist is the following: "You (non-white person) are not better than me (white person).
Do you see the hint of an inferiority complex? Is it possible that these people are terrified of not even being equal to those of other races?
This is similar to the playground bully who intimidates everyone because he feels inferior.
Of course, the truth is that every life matters. Even the life of the skinhead-neo-Nazi-white-supremacist matters. His politics may be irrelevant, and his behavior deplorable, but the person matters.
The global society must reserve the right to respond to the immediate needs of any group that is currently experiencing more pain, more stress, more persecution than others. Just as a parent focuses on the child who is hurting most at any given moment, the world society must respond to its citizens who are most in need at any particular time in history.
Today, because of inequitable treatment by law enforcement, courts, and the criminal justice system, the people of the United States of America and the world community must declare that at this moment in history, in a unique way, black lives matter.
Just as my little flame progressively grew into a bonfire, the world's understanding of the black race is also increasing. We are beginning to recognize the strengths, the beautiful culture, and the wisdom produced by the purifying fires of history.
Our black brothers and sisters must demand their rightful place. They may cross over into violence. But even the American Revolution became violent as have most social revolutions.
Look at the lessons of history. Many of these are only partially written. Women fought for equal rights with men for years. They have made enormous progress, but the last page has not yet been written.
For centuries, blacks have been fighting for recognition that they are equal to all other races. But, up to this point, despite considerable advances, the dominating whites have repressed blacks and kept them down. Those who oppose black equality will object to this assertion most loudly. They will say that blacks most certainly have gained the position of total equality. These white supremacists will say this as a means of preventing further erosion of their disappearing foundation.
One day we will advance as a species to the point that we recognize, not only that all human lives matter, but that all life on the planet matters equally.
© 2020 Chris Mills