Can’t we all just get along? – Rodney King
Similar to others featured here, like Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln for instance, Rodney King probably does not need an introduction. King was leading an unremarkable life when his 1991 beating at the hands of officers of Los Angeles Police Department – which was neither his first nor last law enforcement encounter – was videotaped and then broadcast on TV, first in Los Angeles then around the world. King died in 2012 at age 47 and his beating is actually a throwback to a simpler time in America because let’s face it, had King gotten fussy with police today he probably would have been shot.
Of course, the answer is no, we cannot all get along. History’s long march – featuring, among other things, intolerance, wars, hatred and slavery – has shown that.
What we’ve always found interesting is that we know very few actual racists, the kind who would go out and wear hoods or burn crosses on people’s lawns or get their shorts in a knot because some city decided to take a statue down. Most people just want to get on with their lives and are happy enough to extend that courtesy to others. The actual number of people committed to racial disharmony is rather small. What keeps them around is their own fanatical dedication and our continuing to pay attention to them.
These people have nothing without attention from us. If we don’t pay attention to them they literally have nothing except the hoods on their heads. Their rallies will be nothing more than intramural events, with everyone wandering around patting themselves on the back, basking in their ignorance. The more we pester and antagonize them the more we enable them.
As with various other aspects of our Human Experience, the solution lies with us. We must realize that while we can fight hatred, while we can show up at their rallies, matching venom with venom isn’t particularly useful because some might plow a car into us. We must have the inner peace that allows us to ignore hatred when fighting it will just create more hatred. This is not always easy to realize, because it is human nature to want to take action to right a wrong, but a lot of life is overcoming ourselves.
There is no substitute for inner peace. Peaceful people produce people countries and peaceful countries produces a peaceful world.
Peace begins with us.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.