In My Ohio

​On the Drastic Consequences of Misinterpreting the Rights of Human Beings

Darren C. Demaree
I believe whole-heartedly in prostration acts. I believe that every person I meet is owed my respect, my empathy, and my compassion. Because I believe those things I lower my head to every passing individual, and I talk freely with anyone who wishes to talk to me. If you have five seconds on the weather, then I’ve got five more for you. If all you have is a sigh, the summoning of just enough extra oxygen to possibly lift your spirits, then I have at the very least some eye contact for you. I believe that amount of effort is due. I also know that there are some people that will inevitably lose the right to have that effort expressed towards them. Some people simply do not value how shared this experience is, and they take it upon themselves to lower as many people as possible. As if that might raise their bodies to a level they’re more comfortable with. I will never understand that. I want to be on the same level as everyone else. Everyone else is where all of the beauty is. I lower my head in respect of that beauty.
So, this week, when the verdict came from Ferguson, Missouri that there would be no charges filed against Darren Wilson the policeman that shot and killed Michael Brown I was greatly saddened. I was saddened (not surprised) by the decision, of course, but the sheer number of people that celebrated the lack of indictment struck me down. Celebration? Over the premature death of a young man? Over the violence of it? It’s a white system, rigged to protect white authority, and until the shame of that fact overwhelms the lawmakers in this country, all we can do is our best to protect each other, but we can come together on the idea that we shouldn’t cheer for death, right? People I know, people I like, balked at calling this the second horrific act perpetrated against the young man. The best we can do in a case of a murder is to name the criminal and to do so loudly. To not even find the crime involved in this incident was terrible.
The people that celebrated the decision lost their right for my respect. It’s the same group of people that still struggle with racism, sexism, homophobia, and other disrespectful stances. They carry themselves as good people, and maybe they do well with their lives, but to take a stance against a race of people, a sexuality, to hold any gender at level lower than another gender, is to misunderstand completely what our charge to each other is. We our intended to do better for each other, to expect better from each other, to lift another person’s needs above your own, or at the very least lower your head in regard for their existence. I have no time and no effort I can give to these people that are so horrendously misjudging every faith, misjudging history so completely, and misusing their own wondrous spirits to the point of absolute collapse. Forgiveness is for those willing to learn and expand. It is not for those who shut doors on needed change. I will see some of these people ask and grasp for understanding, and I will meet them there in the torn up parts of their moral compass. I’ve got no problem talking to anyone about anything, but I’ll be damned if I offer them more than I am willing to offer myself. I reserve that intent for the rest of humanity.