Years ago, I wrote a mystery novel that never made it out of my file cabinet. My detective didn’t think the authorities were taking the death of a Creek elder seriously enough. In her words, they were treating him as a throwaway, “just another dead Indian.”
I was arrogant enough to think I could write a novel with an indigenous protagonist. I’ve learned a lot since then, mostly how little I know. But one observation still stands: too many humans are seen as throwaways.
The arrogance of people who think some lives matter more than others puts my youthful arrogance to shame.
There are no throwaway people. There are no humans less than. No matter the skin tone, culture, mental health, or social status of a person, every one of us deserves justice. Justice for some is not justice.
The president calls out his supporters to clash with protestors. He sows division. He cultivates violence and fear.
He isn’t the first white supremacist president, but he needs to be our last.
Our right to assemble and address grievances is written into the Constitution. Our right to show up with guns and shoot protestors is not. The Second Amendment isn’t about counter protest, and it certainly doesn’t supersede other amendments.
Until Black people feel safe when confronted by the police, justice seekers need to keep taking to the streets, peacefully, following the examples of John Lewis and Gandhi. We must keep up nonviolent protests until the truth sinks in. And the truth is this: we have not dealt sufficiently with our country’s racist history. And this: the president is stirring up hatred and violence to get re-elected.
Until Black lives matter, we won’t all matter. Until LGBTQ lives matter, we won’t all matter. Until indigenous lives matter, we won’t all matter. Until women control their own bodies, we won’t all matter.
And until we elect a president who understands and believes in the Constitution, none of us will matter.