If we don’t listen, we’re done for
I can’t breathe – It’s a horrifying feeling.
No matter our color, our gender or our nationality, many have known it. During sickness and disease, or when the wind has been knocked out of us, or when choking or suffocating, the panic that accompanies that imminent threat to our existence is real.
It’s no coincidence that George Floyd’s final words, as he was being choked to death by a misguided police officer, express the same fear that many frightened coronavirus victims have experienced. It’s no coincidence cameras recorded the event. There is no cover of darkness as far as the universe is concerned.
That’s the way the universe works. It keeps sending us messages. Take the word universe apart – ‘uni verse’ – translate it, and you’ll find ‘one song.’ That one song, that one overarching message from the universe – whether we’re ready to hear it or not – is love. It shouldn’t take an unnecessary and brutal death, a mind-searing image that has been repeatedly broadcast around the world, to shake us awake to the reality of injustice. It shouldn’t be taking destruction and violence.
Injustice is the opposite of love. It divides us and is the breeding ground of hatred. Injustice and hatred have the power to suffocate and kill us the same way the coronavirus can, if we don’t pay attention to their existential threats.
Could the universe be pasting its message over the entire planet any more than it is right now?
We can do our part in our local communities by being just as vigilant and proactive in identifying and rooting out injustice as we have been with addressing the virus. Working together, we can do it. But we have to listen to the message, and we can’t wait.
In the late 1960s, the universe used a song from Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods – as it has persistently used so many artists through the ages – to channel its message. “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another – right now.”
Aretha Franklin boiled it down to one word: “Respect.”