and today we wait.
you can feel the energy in the air. nervous tension. our city waits for the unwanted arrival of the president, who is apparently coming to kenosha to add photos to his photo op collection of inappropriate pictures taken at inappropriate times in circumstances about which he has no empathy.
we wait, nervously, wondering what the afternoon will bring.
in a city struggling to heal and move forward, this president will churn up any dust that has settled. his rhetoric will spur on angry voices of hatred and division. his actions and attitudes will suck the hopefulness out of people who have done so much in these last days after the police shooting of a young african american man, the ensuing protests, the riots and looting and arson wreaked by extremists, the pleas for the embracing of black-lives-matter change, the death of two protesters in the streets by a little boy from out-of-state with a very big gun playing militia, and this very president’s lack of compassion, lack of healing words, lack of condemnation of all that is obviously wrong, lack of truth, lack of moral compass in addressing all of what kenosha has experienced in the last nine days.
we wait, nervously, wondering what evil the inevitable rally will unearth, what the retort will be by the people of kenosha who truly care, what the extremists will do, who may enter this city from outside to do damage or stir up violence, what will happen to the baby steps we have taken.
we walk or hike every day. lately we have walked a lot in our neighborhood. we turn the corner down a ways and, tucked in front of the fence, next to the sidewalk, positioned in front of the clover on a broken piece of glassware are these two military figures. both armed and at-the-ready. what is this? what does it mean? even these kid-toys sitting there, day after day, seem to be a statement, seem unsettling in this climate. and so we wonder.
and we wait. the stress is palpable as the town listens for the giant military helicopters to arrive or the motorcycle brigade or the national guard entourage parade. and we wonder what the evening will bring. will the peaceful protests be overrun by presidential fuel added to the embers? will all hell break loose? will kenosha lose ground, the slightest of forward-moving crawling it has done?
we wait, nervously, and wonder how our city, our state, our country can overcome the ugly division that is forming a wall between factions resistant to change, impenetrable, armored to the hilt. we wonder how we can be a city, a state, a country of dignity and inclusion, respect, equality, safety, peace.
we believe hate-speech is not the answer. we believe pushing people down to raise oneself up is not the answer. we believe people in the streets armed with weapons of destruction is not the answer. we believe divisiveness, in all its colors and genders and socioeconomic forms, is not the answer. we believe falsehoods and stoking fire and inciting animosity and violence without impunity is not the answer. we believe abhorrent agenda-riddled self-indulgence on the part of the leadership of this country is not the answer.
stand up, little plastic soldiers. look each other in the eye. look the enemy in the eye. put your guns away. start with love.