Which Way America?

Which Way America?

Violence, dislocation, criminalization, mass detention and incarceration, reduction of decency, and the mistreatment of women and children or any person should be seen as acts against humanity. Such behaviors begin the moment a human being is no longer seen as valuable or able to enjoy the fullness of life. Heart-wrenching details about historic and continuing realities of what it means to be Black in America should cause us to shudder.

Poverty, poor quality education, high unemployment, inaccessible healthcare, and over-priced housing along with other such conditions should never be seen or perceived as a way of life. The very real violence rooted in the institutionalized structures and systems etched in place across America burden this nation and destroy the lives and souls of Black folk. The well-honed circumstances that perpetuate unacceptable, debased standards are pervasive and touch every aspect and sector of our society.

The contradiction of science, space, and medical advancements amid the horrid living conditions of Black children and impoverished families gives us pause.

The contradiction of science, space, and medical advancements amid the horrid living conditions of Black children and impoverished families gives us pause. At least, it should prick our conscious and prod us toward social resolutions to end the plight that plagues true progress.

The daily beat of disturbing episodes where humanity is rendered low priority in favor of profits and the comfort of an elite few needs to be heard and heeded. It is folly to keep running on a daily treadmill that goes nowhere no matter how fast and how long it churns away. Unfortunately, the horrors of social and fiscal malfeasance do not stand in one place. Rather, there is a multiplication effect that festers and absorbs the souls of those directly affected along with the witnesses who cannot escape the grotesque realities of its impact.

Drunken illusions of being untouched by the boils of shame, neglect, and ignored human beings will not protect anyone from the emerging assaults that soon will overcome any sense of sanity or civility. The very frightening truth of America being on the cusp of unimaginable events leaves no escape for anyone. Even if our physical lives survive the oncoming actions, our conscious and souls will not find safe havens.

On the one hand, we have all the necessary requisites to avoid disaster. But, like the commanders aboard the Titanic, a piece of ice sticking up in the water was insufficient warning to cause them to reverse their course or take action to avoid the great collision.

On the other hand, there appears to be too little desire to forge justice and social responsibility to deliver aid and support to the most vulnerable members of our society. For all the patriotic rhetoric about military veterans and love of country, for example, there remains too little evidence our country really cares about those who suffer the aftermath of ungodly combat and shattered lives. Their walking remains litter the sidewalks as they seek shelter under over paths, outside businesses, and along the streets across America. Too many are Black bodies without recourse.

For all the sacrifices endured on behalf of an ungrateful nation, American veterans who are mentally wounded receive insufficient attention, support, and care. Once hard-working citizens who lost their jobs to a changing economy while others lost their homes to corrupt Ponzi schemes by banks and lenders, find they are struggling to recover without falling deeper into the pit of despair.

Yes, this is a very bleak moment. But, it is not new. Black folk have known the misery of impossible times when there was no escape to freedom, liberty, or opportunity. Black folk know far too well what it means to live under a government that puts into place laws, policies, and practices that ignore their humanity and increase their suffering. There are lessons to be learned from what it means to be Black in America.

In order to get through these days and what lies ahead if we fail to reverse our current course, woke people must learn, comprehend, and direct their attention to the unresolved burden placed on Black folk in America. The country’s unwillingness to admit its continued assaults on Black folk, repent for its sins and crimes against humanity, and lack of commitment to show remorse, pay reparations, or amend its ways can only result in our Titanic plunge into disaster.

Let it be said and make no mistake, failure to pay attention to Black folk will remove any possibility of answering the wailing cries of Native Americans whose very existence is falsely perceived as reduced to dust. Perhaps that is where this country’s recovery and healing must begin if there is any desire for America to be saved. The well-being of Native Americans and heeding their warnings at Standing Rock and in their Sovereign Lands is crucial if this nation is to have a future fit for its children and descendants.

We must be clear about one other thing, guns, tanks, and weapons of mass destruction are insufficient to protect and preserve a society hellbent on its own death that is laced with determination to abuse and ignore its most loyal members.

Just look around and see what is obvious from the White House to Congress, across the country and in our cities. We have the answers to solve all our problems. We lack the courage, willingness, or moral obligation to do what is needed to be done; to do what is right, just, and worthy.

Which way, America, are we going to avoid the iceberg?

Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs

About Art Cribbs

The Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs is the executive director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, a statewide faith-based organization, that advocates for workers and immigrant rights, quality education, and health care.