Oped-Marian Lee Lewis1

A shadow of ignorance and hate has darkened us all.  We raise our voices in anguish and protest at the French “Charlie” outrage as we briskly walk past the hungry beggar in the street, neglect a family member who has fallen on hard times, look away from the youth whose pants aren’t hitched up as we’d like.

We can no longer afford a world of “the other.”

“Black lives matter,” the tortured plea that went out regarding the alarming police murders of black youth in America was followed by a self-righteous “All lives matter.” The intention of this convenient bromide was an attempt to muzzle the cry of the disenchanted, disaffected “others” for whom the Declaration of Independence’s “all men are created equal” might as well have been written on a bathroom wall.  It insulted those who were not born into the safe bunker of opulence and privilege.  It said that no matter how loud you scream, no matter how bloody your children, husbands, brothers, sisters, wives; no matter your candles or church bells, no matter your riots in the street, we will silence you with our apathy and disbelief. “All lives matter” opened the wounds of everyday Black and Brown people acquainted with the policeman’s club. It was heard by hard working corporate  Americans who have been stopped Driving While “Other.”

It reminded the LGBT community of the deafening silence that followed their “other” comrades murdered for living their truth.

In 2012 there were 2,016 incidents of hate violence and 25 homicides.   A special hatred was reserved for transgender women, people of color and gay men.  No plaintive wails or ribbons on the trees from those living an unmolested heterosexual American dream that has become an American fantasy to rival Marvel Comics.

The reason “All lives matter” is so compelling is because it reflects the highest spiritual and scientific truth.  We are all connected to one another and to Mother Gaia herself.  But we choose to be at war…with ourselves.  There is no “other” except in the deepest shadows of our insane minds.  Humanity who has raped Mother Earth in an attempt to wage a war on Nature, is out to destroy itself.

Our ship of state is losing water.  The blood in the streets is our own.  There is no bunker to protect us from “the other.” As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  Building walls to lock the enemy out only imprisons us.

So yes, “All lives matter.”  I’m sure that’s what Trayvon Martin’s mother said.  Eric Garner’s mother must have thought it too.  And what about Michael Brown’s mother.  “All lives matter.”  Yes, that’s exactly the point.

Marian Lee Lewis is an author, journalist and poet living in Baltimore.