|My son Daryl and grandson Jaxon|
*** Conjecture of a Guilty Bystander: "We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are. It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes: yet, with all that, God is gloried in becoming a member of the human race. A member of the human race! To think that such a commonplace realization should suddenly seem like news that one holds the winning ticket in a cosmic sweepstake. Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander."
He assumed that I also celebrated the exoneration of officer Wilson. He was grinning and laughing while pointing to the newspaper headline that shouted "NO INDICTMENT." His wife's glee seemed somewhat tempered, but then she is from Canada so….you know. But what kind of narratives about me, I wondered, had this man been constructing in his mind over the many months that I had been eating in his vegan cafe that caused him to think that I would share his opinion of the Killing of Michael Brown and that Brown "got just what he deserved." It seems silly now, but for some reason I had assumed that he was some sort of a bleeding-heart progressive, I mean he was a Vegan for Christ's sake! He also conformed to many of the identity markers often associated with sympathetic leftists such as opposing animal cruelty, driving a Prius, and expressing virulent scorn for Monsanto, etc.. In hindsight I guess I tended to downplay the fact that he was a pilot during the Vietnam war, perhaps because I knew lots of leftist veterans who criticized the Vietnam and Iraq wars, the 'military industrial complex,' or what have you. But then he was a retired officer and I haven't known many vets who put in their 20 years and then spend their golden years reading Kropotkin, Noam Chomsky, or "The Little Flowers of Saint Francis" (the martyred monks of the Tibhirine being exceptions). True we were both old, white, male, overweight, relatively affluent, amorphously Christianish, but surely he noticed that I never knew whether the Seahawks won or lost their Sunday game and that I didn't laugh at his jokes about Obamcare? Apparently you can talk and eat with somebody for years and yet not really know them at all (or does he see deeper into my soul than I care to admit?). Now that I think about it I wonder if he had known that I had a Black son if it would have made any difference in his assumptions. I mean, why was he so damn sure that I shared his opinions (or should they be called racist ideologies, picking just the right language can be challenging). Like at some point I guess I might have to talk with my Grandson about how to engage with police officers, like I told my son about how to be safer in the presence of armed cops, but i guess I was hoping that that wouldn't be necessary by the time my grand kids grew up (not my white grand kids but the brown ones that is). I guess I was wrong about that, but I been wrong about a lot of things.