The last part of our Pledge Of Allegiance states, "...with liberty and justice for all." Most of us have been saying this pledge since entering school, but how many of us have really taken the time to consider what these words really mean? We get a certain status in life and all of a sudden, everyone else is beneath us. Or, someone rises to the top in life, and all of a sudden we declare them to be uppity! If we're up, we look down on those who are down; if we're down, we look down on those who've risen up! If we see a teen dressed a certain way, he's either a prep or a hoodlum...why can't he/she just be a teen trying to fit in? It's like, we no longer remember when we were kids; when it was us! Now, we're policemen, social workers, Judges...and we're the BIG GUYS, we're IN CHARGE...and we want everyone in the world to know it!
When I watched the Fruitvale Station (Oscar Grant) movie a couple of weeks ago, I was outraged at how those policemen treated those kids. I'd like to go on record saying that how they were treated was no less than a crime! And, I'm not going by a movie: I did my research before seeing the movie! I saw the actual clips of those policemen man-handling those kids. It was no surprise that one of the kids ended up dead at the hands of the police. And, yes, I said police--not policeman, because none of the policemen there put that policeman that was out of order in check; therefore, making them all at fault. In fact, two of them was completely out of order. The public outcry, even before the killing took place, was proof of that! The sad thing is, the very person that was looked upon as a criminal ended up dead for no criminal reason, and the one perceived to be the protector of the people ended up killing for no reason!
We say "liberty and justice for ALL!" Where is the liberty when someone like Trayvon can't walk down the street--minding his own business--in his own neighborhood, without fearing for his life from an over-anxious wannabe-cop, because his skin isn't the right color and his clothing isn't the right style; and, who indeed, ends up dead!
I've worked as a Juvenile Crisis Counselor, as a Corrections Officer, and as a Social Worker--to name a few. All these positions gave me a certain amount of power over others that I could have easily abused, but I didn't take those jobs for power; I took those jobs to help change lives! Yes, even in the prison system. You'd be surprised at the people who'll listen to you when you treat them with decency and respect! Unfortunately, a lot of people go into these very jobs on a power trip, and the system doesn't care enough to weed them out! God help us!
What's even sadder about all this, is that we're blinded enough to think that it can't happen to us: We're good people, we're honorable people, we're church-going people...we follow the rules! America, open your eyes! When the police decides to pull you over--for whatever reason--and you as much as ask why to the wrong policeman, you're already on the wrong side of the law. Anything you do besides exactly what you're told can land you in a casket, and that policeman can pull something from your record you did when you were 10 years old and make you look like this horrible person, walking away--himself--with no more than a slap on the wrist! This is the America we now live in! The question is...What are we going to do about it?!
When are we going to stand up and say, "We've had enough!"