I decided to stop drinking on June 4th. In the time that I’ve done so, there has been a nice convergence of events where I’m reaping the full benefits of going “clear”.
I’m not numb to them. I feel them all. The week of July 4th was pretty uneventful until Philando’s and Alton’s names were plastered all over the web. Suddenly, I’m left wondering what the hell precipitated more shootings of people of color in disparate parts of the country. I woke up Friday morning to the headlines from Dallas in my home state. I watched a graphic video of a gunman stalking, and winning the deadly cat and mouse game he played with what appeared to be a police officer.
Later that day, I'm playing Mr. Mom in place of my wife who had fallen ill the day before. I took my son and daughter out for a walk, and suddenly I find out about some personal turmoil that was relayed to me via text.
I felt completely and utterly helpless. Grieving sometimes takes time as it usually takes me several days to get through something. Yet, I found myself consumed with sadness and anger all at once by the afternoon. I broke out in tears as my wife embraced me as I was going through my emotions from the personal and national turmoil that had transpired throughout the week.
I have more. I’m a better father and husband. Moreover, I’m not overly affected by all the misplaced, racist, ignorant rants, memes and videos that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been used to post. If one is willing to just post a meme or video we’re forced to assume that your meme or video is also your voice. It’s pretty safe to say that person bypassed reasonable research on their own to educate themselves on subjects such as why Black Lives Matters is not reverse racism, and (or) they ignore the tumultuous history police in the US have had with communities of color. In my hometown in New Braunfels, TX it used to be illegal for Mexicans to attend Landa Park. Imagine the cops who enforced that bullshit.
If you’re protesting the police and run to them for help, it isn’t ironic. It’s a right. Period. One that was paid for several decades ago by protestors who were regularly beaten or even killed. Hell, it can still happen today. It's the most powerful way for people to exercise their voice, peacefully.
Barack Obama is not my president, per say, however, his words over the police shootings should be said. It’s putting this painful topic at the forefront of our collective consciousness, where it belongs. If we cannot fathom what it’s like for parents to daily coach and worry about their black sons lives, we have no business critiquing this conversation. I feel as though this makes people uncomfortable, because race IS an issue. Race may not truly exist, but, RACE IS AN ISSUE.
Conversely, no one in their right mind feels police should be executed. I absolutely feel that with such rapidly evolving and dynamic situations that police are not thinking, they’re reacting. They’re leveraging their training in the front line to rapidly deteriorating situations. I should also explicitly state that I support the Blue. Indeed, there is far and above more well meaning and good officers on the beat than those who are not.
Here’s the other side of that coin. We, as the general public, have the right to second guess, and judge said actions. In fact, since the power of life and death hang in the holsters of police each and every day the standard for them is higher, and should constantly be questioned. The actions of that said few vastly overshadow those who don’t. It’s an impossible job, with very real consequences.
Police are human. Humans with emotions. If you’re police and work a community where you are an outsider with no community ties, where everyday people likely distrust you and so are viewed as "up to no good", you will learn to dislike and possibly hate said people. I’ve been privy to enough conversations with active duty and retired police across the country to know this usually cuts across the racial line. That’s who’s policing our communities. It’s disingenuous to just post a video and walk away thinking, “Point made, here’s a video showing you how to deal with police when you’re pulled over…”
Those with the power need to engage with the community. Guess who that is?
At 37, I’m still doing it, but now at an accelerated level. The beauty of the podcast we run is that the nearly 70 episodes represent over 60 different individuals with a wide array of backgrounds, race, nationalities, sexualities, schools of thought, hustles and outlooks. Here’s what I know, the podcast team I am a part of is part of the change I want to see in the world. We have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt there are people looking to brighten their corner of the world. Additionally, I have been proven wrong multiple times and have changed my outlook on life more times than I can count. This, my kindly subjects, is how we grow.
If all one does is use their respective insulated community as a shield, and all you do is post memes, videos and rants you are not expanding your perceptions. It means you are not part of the change. You are good with the status quo. You see black and white, when all the value and the core of a subject is in the grey. You will be passed by in your safe environment. That’s ok, but you are now inconsequential to the rest of the world. I invite you to challenge your thinking and engage in discussion.
Lastly, we have a survey over the podcast that has asked people to give us feedback on what we do well and what we don’t. One of the consistent pieces of positive feedback has been our “agenda-less” approach. This is super important because we have inadvertently yet consistently delved into complex issues with a thoughtful approach based on being open.
We must continue to challenge the status quo and push our laughable “socialist” agenda. I will conclude my going clear on or around August 12, 2016 for a bachelor party. That's the grey. I'll unplug and continue on.