Not Just a Can of Paint
I will keep this short…
There is a global pandemic…Covid-19
…also anti-black racism
…also violence against women
…also fear and isolation of disabilities.
The United States faces its own unique epidemic…gun entitlement
…also militarized (hyper-masculinized) concepts of policing
…also health and wellness that is the national equivalent of cotton in the early 1800s.
…also an economy that relies on poverty
…and a distrust of knowledge and information.
Together, these make for a powerfully toxic stew. We cannot fix one, without fixing the others. We cannot have a response for one, without a response for the others. More police will not fix the spike in gun violence. Fewer guns will not de-militarize policing. Ending violence against women will not un-enslave millions from health care that wants to keep them sick and without access. Fixing healthcare alone will not end the assault that men and the government wage physically and culturally on women’s bodies. We have to be willing to look holistically at strategies to untangle the whole knot.
…the solutions to social discord and sickness and violence and fear is not as simple as a can of paint or choosing not to wear a mask out of self determination.
Watching a woman attempt to paint over the Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez, CA (a city I know well from my time in the Bay Area) it became crystal clear to me that we have become a culture of people who believe that we can act as solo agents with a can of paint and erase things we don’t like or don’t understand. We are both lazy while being resentful of being told what to do. This is also why wearing a mask to prevent the spread of covid-19 is political. This is the real challenge we face in this time; the solutions to social discord and sickness and violence and fear is not as simple as a can of paint or choosing not to wear a mask out of self determination. What is required is more intimate, more interconnected and much more time and energy consuming. What is more, the solutions cannot come from a place of rage. The solutions we seek, have to come from a sense of shared humanity that honors difference and different perspectives, because we collectively and individually value the way our own difference is mutually respected by others.
Human beings have incredible capacity, to learn, to understand, to grow, to evolve. It is time for us to reclaim these capabilities before we forget that we have them altogether.
Please also read this important information from Everytown for Gun Safety about the connection between gun sales, gun violence, our response to covid-19 and public health: Gun Violence and COVID-19