One hundred days and all is still a haze. Another year, another Black male body. Another inquiry, another failure to hold anyone accountable. More outrage and grief met with calls for calm, civility, and understanding. One hundred days and all is still a haze.
How long, O Lord?
Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2 ESV)
My father was always sure that it was impossible to be a politician and also maintain one’s integrity as a person of faith. He was sure that it was the same as trying to serve God and mammon. You’d love one master and hate the other. There was no win-win scenario.
I though about this on Monday night as I watched the President of the United States address the nation in the aftermath of the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
Dear Lord, the President… Here was a man whose body language betrayed and belied the words coming forth from his mouth. Here was a Black male body calling for calm once more even as the blood of another Black male body cried forth from the ground for justice; a justice denied because the task of being a brother’s keeper is too great. Here was a Black male body full of not just righteous indignation, but of sheer anger. Yet, his role as president had to be the dominant mask. All other ways of being had to be repressed, swallowed, and buried deep.
He had to bite his tongue and channel a foreign tongue. I wondered if he wouldn’t spit blood after biting down so hard to control his words and the tone of his words. He had to be an actor and all of his energy has to go into maintaining the facade of authenticity and integrity of the role. Yet, here was a man in pain, deep pain, a pain rooted in the Maafa. A pain nourished by the blood of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Amadou Diallo, and Trayvon Martin.
The percussive sound of bullets playing a dirge. The black skinned drums yielding a discordant sound, moaning, crying, pleading… The body broken, crumpled mass is ended, go in pieces and hold your peace.