Old Holidays and the Latest News

Dearest Freedom Riders,

Kujichagulia my peoples! I had to blog today, because it's my favorite day of Kwanzaa. The day dedicated to the principle of Kujichagulia, Swahili for self determination.

For me, it is also the third day of Christmas (yes, the twelve days start on December 25th). This coming Sunday many churches remember the darkest part of the Christmas stories in the Bible, the Massacre of the Holy Innocents .

Expressing our love for all the holy innocents and affirming the universal right of self determination might help us resolve some of our major conflicts in NYC today. May I suggest that: Black lives matter. Cop's lives matter. All lives matter, and all people should have the right to self determination, as individuals and communities.

Mayor Di Blasio suggested that non-violent anti-police brutality protests stop after the horrible, senseless assassination of two NYPD officers last Saturday. Calling for a brief pause from protest seemed reasonable to me at first. Then after a lot of prayerful listening I decided that I disagreed with the Mayor on that issue. My thought is that disciplined non-violent protest is an alternative to violence, rather than a cause of violence. And people should have the right to determine for themselves when they want to protest. Telling the people when not to protest is not one of the jobs we elected Bill de Blasio to do. Kujichagulia.

But, I've also felt very disturbed by uniformed and/or armed police officers turning their backs on Mayor de Blasio as a protest this past week. I am in favor of the right to protest, but when cops in uniform and/or with guns protest their civilian boss, it begs the question: Who is in charge, the leader who was elected by the people, or the guys with the guns? 

I'd like to share this series of tweets by Andrew Exum, former Army officer and scholar on the middle east, to better express my concerns:
"1.Thought exercise: Imagine thousands of US Army officers turning their backs  on President Bush at the funeral of soldiers killed in Iraq. 2. I know the service and social contract differ, but as a former Army officer, I'm made really uneasy by the behavior of the NYPD today. 3. (Chief of Police) Bratton's remarks at the funeral, by contrast, struck the precise opposite tone: humble, mournful, the words of a public servant. 4. Shame on those--politicians retired PD--who would encourage the insubordination of armed peace officers. 5. On a day we should've mourned selfless sacrifice of police, we also witnessed disrespect of public servants toward elected leaders. 6. How can you call yourself a public servant when you turn your back on the democratically elected representation of the public weal?"

Wondering about the term "Public Weal"? I had to look it up. Wikipedia says: "Public weal may refer to: Commonwealth, a form of government without a monarch in which people have governmental influence."

Hmmn…that's a new word for me, but I like it…almost as much as I like Kujichagulia.

God bless the NYPD.
God bless the Public Weal.
And like Tiny Tim says: "God bless us, every one!"


Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Thanks for Listening,


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