By Juliana Valdez
For days, the news reports featured the angst of those who cried out for justice over the alleged police shooting of three young men.
The citizens were bombarded with reports and accusations, then counter reports and counter accusations. The reports continued: riots, marches, shootings, tyres and other debris on fire, road blockades, attacks on innocent motorists and other civilians, deaths, threats, looting. “We want justice!” they shouted. “Black lives matter!” they shouted. “I living right there!” they shouted amidst the chaos and confusion.
I viewed the goings on with mixed emotions. Genuine care and concern or ‘bandwagonism’ I questioned. I looked at the faces, the disposition, and the stance taken by those participating in what was happening. I listened to the utterances of those speaking for and on behalf of the protesters and again I questioned. Genuine care and concern or ‘copycat-ism’?
An episode of Full House helped me put a lot of things into perspective, but which left me still questioning the motives of some of the protesters. Ten-year-old Stephanie was befriended by two schoolmates, both named Jennifer. They acted and spoke in unison, putting down everything Stephanie had, did and was!
They derided the fact that she did not shave her legs, did not have pierced ears but wore clip on earrings, and owned sunglasses that were so “Yesterday!” instead of the latest fashion!
The result of the ribbing? Desperation! Her father Danny refused to give her permission to get her ears pierced and so she agreed to allow the neighbour Kimmy to do it for her. Mind you, Kimmy admitted that she practised the piercing on cold cuts (meat). Of course, the ear lobes became infected and she had to confess to her dad what took place.
Danny asked her why she did it. Her response, “I am my own person. I want to be treated like an individual!” He then posed pertinent questions to her: “Why did you want to pierce your ears?” Her response, “To fit in with my friends.”
He then informed her that being an individual or your own person requires you to know what you want, because your decision making cannot be based on what your friends are doing. When you do not know what you want, the lies, disobedience, poor judgement, etc, will occur because you want to fit in by any means necessary!
I thought of the rioting and all that it entailed. Was the violence and destruction necessary? Were the perpetrators of the acts of vandalism just trying to fit in, to be seen as part of the cause?
Where was the voice of reason? Could no-one among them raise a voice to condemn and discourage the negativity?
Yes, stand up for what you believe by all means, but let it never be said that you were only doing it because everybody was doing it! Remember, “Majority does not mean morally right!”
Our nation is experiencing so much trauma from one situation or another. There is so much frustration, distraction, uncertainty, doubt and despair. But we are reminded that Jesus, the Just Judge, holds all of us and every situation in His hands!
May God our Merciful Father, lead and guide the organisers of these protests to act with wisdom, taking decisions which will bring about peaceful and satisfactory solutions to these troubling situations.
When Stephanie’s sister Michelle heard she was getting her ear pierced by Kimmy, she questioned, “Are you nuts?” Stephanie replied, “No, desperate.”
Whatever the cause we wish to support, it must not be because we desperately want to fit in, but because we are genuinely concerned and wish to do what is right.