Your view may not be my view, but that does not make it a wrong view. Brutality. Force. Injustice. Discrimination. Inequality. Poverty. Racism. Inhumanity. These are our enemies. Our reasons for wanting these things to end do not have to be 100% one way or another. Our reasons for wanting these things to end do not have to be unless and until it is your way or my way.
Why do we let these things divide us? Why do we waste energy railing one against the other? Embrace the words. Take back the power. Focus on what matters. Focus on the issues of brutality, force, injustice, discrimination, inequality, poverty, racism and inhumanity in our America.
We have learned nothing, done nothing, far too long in this country. We’ve put up fences. We’ve closed ourselves off. We’ve made rules, divisions, but we’ve created no solutions. We’ve solved and resolved nothing. If we want to end destructive cycles, we must not only hear those around us when they speak but we must listen.
Communities, and especially black communities, across America say we want less violence, less brutality, less force, less injustice, less discrimination, less poverty, more support, more understanding, more equality, more humanity. Someone saying ‘Blue Lives Matter’ only lessens cries of ‘Black Lives Matter’ if we let it, if we give these words the power. Someone saying ‘All Lives Matter’ only lessens cries of ‘Black Lives Matter’ if we let it, if we give these words the power. Take back the power by embracing the words, not letting them divide us, not allowing them to make us lose our focus.
‘Black Lives Matter’ says listen and hear us. ‘Blue Lives Matter’ says listen and hear us. ‘All Lives Matter’ says listen and hear us. Let’s listen and hear, let’s reach across and embrace. Let’s not give these words power over us. Let's find common ground. Conventional ideas and conventional solutions have failed us. It’s time for radical ideas and radical solutions.
We cannot solve the issues of brutality, force, injustice, discrimination, inequality, poverty, racism and inhumanity with one great sweep of the brush. We cannot solve the issues of brutality, force, injustice, discrimination, inequality, poverty, racism and inhumanity without inclusivity.
Are there answers to be found by turning the problems around, by viewing the problems in different ways? By viewing them through each other’s eyes? What drives brutality? What drives use of force? Is it fear? Is it anger? Is it hatred? Is it the unremitting cycles of crime, inhumanity and violence? Why are we afraid? Why are police officers afraid? Why are we angry? Why are police officers angry? Why do some hate police? Why do some police hate? Why do the cycles of brutality, inhumanity and violence never end? Why cannot these cycles be broken?
There are many intractable conflicts in this world. These bloody conflicts that drag on and on. The world has grown weary of them and yet they remain. Nothing seems to ever be solved because there have been no successful strategies to resolve them, nor even success in ameliorating them.
Disputes between communities and police involve many issues. Communities around our nation, and especially black communities, see their own dying at the hands of the police. The police see their own dying at the hands of those they are trying to serve and protect. Yet this is not a zero-sum struggle, something that one side must win and the other must lose.
Communities around our nation, and especially black communities, see themselves as victims, surrounded by threats. They are vulnerable, haunted by all the injustice, inhumanity and brutality they have witnessed. They fight for their very existence and may do unacceptable things in the name of fighting for their very existence. Rioting, looting, as examples. There is mistrust. All sides have resorted to other means when diplomacy has failed.
Rare is the time when there is progress, for rare are the ones who are willing to take a first step, let alone a second or third step. There are skeptics who don’t believe resolution is possible. There are blockers who try to ensure negotiation does not lead to unfavorable resolution. There are extremists who seek resolution at the other’s expense. There is hardening of our position to the point we no longer hear. There is transference of our grievances and fears from generation to generation.
We’ve partitioned our society. White America, Black America, Latino America, Asian America, and on and on. We’ve created enemies outside of these partitions. These partitions multiply inequality, injustice and inhumanity; they do not end them. We’ve created different value systems for our versions of America. These different value systems only serve to prolong and entrench poverty, racism and discrimination.
Our government has worked to contain and prevent upheaval. Our government has turned a blind eye, not committed itself to resolution. The path toward resolution requires top-down strategic leadership and a progressive opening up of America so that our communities become intertwined, and the path toward resolution requires bottom-up people-to-people diplomacy that persuades our leaders to achieve our goals. Discussion, reciprocal negotiation, resolution require trust. Trust of all sides. Hearing from and listening to all sides. Hardening the position of one side or another will not resolve anything.
To move forward, we must overcome the passions of the moment and the memories of the past. We must embrace the shared threat to our America that should we fail yet again, our republic will fail. We do not want our America to succumb to extremism. Our common ground and shared interest in remaking our America in the image of one and all will ensure our American dream forever. Together we can achieve an inclusive our America.
Thank you Ella for teaching me about community-centered leadership through your words. Black lives matter.
Our America Together. Our Participatory Democracy. Our America Forever.
Thanks for reading, I’m William Robert Stanek, Microsoft’s #1 author for nearly 20 years, and author of over 250 topselling books.