Dear Governor Ducey,
I’m reading James Baldwin’s as the protestors demonstrate in Baltimore. Some say the violence sets the cause back. Some say the people of the neighborhoods should police themselves better, then the police won’t get involved. Some say this is just the way things are. Some say this is the way things have always been, we just see it more now because of social media. Some say the media turns a blind eye but the COO of the Orioles doesn’t turn a blind eye. He says, you can’t say what happened in a night means one single thing at all. Look at the past forty years. Jobs sent over seas. Education budgets slashed. Everyone waiting for the trickle to trickle down but the only thing that trickles is rain and bullets from the police. An economic policy, the same one you subscribe to, has destroyed an entire city. Baldwin writes, “One can be—indeed, one must strive to become--tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of war; remember, I said most of mankind, but it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” Most of us are authors of some kind of devastation, or have inherited the riches of that made devastation. Devastation. Decimation. Some say the protestors are only hurting themselves, but what is there to decimate when all has been already devastated. When one is devastated. To live in permanent devastation is to live under a heavy blanket, the kind they lay upon you when they take x-rays of your teeth. To take off that blanket and stand up must be a great thing. It’s hard to blame you if, by stretching your arms, when you knock over the dentist’s lights, or the tray of implements, or step on the dentist’s toes.
Decimation. I’m glad, like any politician or any policy, it’s not permanent. The morning after the protests turned incendiary, a woman with a broom swept up the sidewalk in front of the CVS that was burned. “It’s not right,” was her remark, meant locally, understood globally. The same people who live in the devastation are the ones who clean it up. Everyone needs a broom. Some of us call it education. Some of us call it a job but the broom is, if nothing else, a vote.