Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Day Later

Still a lot of strong, deep feelings this morning. Another sort of rambling post to come, I suppose.

Outrage and horror and sadness at what's going on it Ferguson, Missouri. Reporters being shot with rubber bullets then told to evacuate the area so it can be cleaned up, residents being gassed, police officers in full military gear standing off peaceful protesters with dogs and this is 2014 in America. Something is just not clicking somewhere. Police are supposed to be here to help people - 'to serve and protect'.

These actions in Ferguson are going a long way to further separate the majority of Americans from what the police are supposed to do: 'protect and serve'. That said, looting and rioting are not helpful, either, and I don't endorse criminal actions on either side. There are opportunists in both camps and they're the ones that get picked up by the media and used as justification for reprehensible actions.

I thought America was more grown up than that.

Deep, deep sadness at the news of Robin Williams' death. He hit at the exact right time for me to be influenced by his manic style of comedy and improv. I learned every line of Reality... What a Concept! inside out. I watched Mork & Mindy every week and saw all his movies. When he stretched into dramatic acting with The World According to Garp and Moscow on the Hudson, I thought it was brave. I learned later on that comedians often make excellent dramatic actors but it doesn't necessarily work the other way 'round. I went to see Aladdin in the theater because hey, Robin Williams as a manic cartoon genie? SOLD. It didn't matter that I didn't have a child at the time. I was there.

He gave me (and everyone) soooo many hours of joy. We all quoted all his lines from Good Morning, Vietnam. We all riffed like he did in Aladdin. And when I saw him in One Hour Photo and Insomnia, he was the consummate actor. Those two performances were so unlike anything I'd seen from him before. I was blown away.

Reports are repeating endlessly that he was depressed and we all know he battled with addiction. This terrible combination isn't a weakness, it's a disease. We who don't feel it to the extent that he and far too many others do shouldn't be judgmental. I've had my own bouts of depression with thoughts of suicide. I held the very sharp boning knife and all I had to do was lean into it and it would have all been over. I didn't because of the love I knew there was for me in my world and because the pain - as bad as it was - wouldn't last forever. None of us know exactly what Mr. Williams felt or was going through but that doesn't stop traditional and social media from speculating.

That does no one any good. What should be repeated over and over and over is that there are resources for fighting back depression. We all have friends who struggle and we all need to let them know they are loved by us. To you, my friends, I am glad to know you and though I don't see you often enough I think about you and I want you to be happy.

I want us all to be happy.

In the midst of all the horrible fucking things happening in the world including the mess in Ukraine, the stupidity in Gaza, the terror in Iraq, the totally preventable awfulness in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria, there's a ray of sunlight in my world. My baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, are in first place in August for the first time since I think 1993. Their current winning streak (8 games!) and the way their season is going is something to appreciate. Look up the Royals to find out why this is a big deal. And the win last night that put them in sole possession of first place in their division was something that did, indeed, make me happy last night. I needed it.

So the fear that drives the chain of command in Missouri is debilitating. Having power doesn't mean you're not scared so it's essential to look at exactly why you're scared. The over militarized police with their insanely big weapons are afraid of average people expressing their own fear and outrage. The fear that drives someone to end his life because he just can't see any other way out is harder to control. Sometimes control eludes us. All the time that loss is tragic.

But sometimes, if you believe enough and work enough, things fall together and your team comes through. It takes all of us believing and working together. Don't let your friends pull back.

Reach out, overcome your own fear.