This morning, while walking from the Point in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, I passed by a dove placidly perched on a wooden fence. The bird looked somewhat scrawny, and I wondered if even weakened—for it made no attempt to flee when I turned back with Leica Q2, stopped, manually focused, and captured the Featured Image. Surely there is a metaphor here somewhere.
Racial riots rage across swathes of the country, months after the first ones in late May 2020: Chicago, Ill., Kenosha, Wisc., Minneapolis, Minn., Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash. are among the cities stricken by arson and looting. Today, in D.C., on the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech, thousands of protesters rallied for racial equality and against violence during The Commitment March. Afternoon stormy weather and heavy rains dampened activities, which, more or less, came to a soggy end by early evening. Mmmm, is there another metaphor there?
One of the slogans that I see chalked on some sidewalks in my neighborhood, and it was on The Commitment March podium and chanted by protesters in Washington: “No Justice, No Peace”. The dove is a traditional symbol of peace. The bird that I saw today needed a lift—literally into the air and internally some energy from good grub. Stretching the metaphor, peace won’t fly without something to sustain it; violence poisons peace, not enriches it.
But the people seeking justice might disagree. From The Washington Post live blog:
‘I want my 40 acres and a mule’, Kevin Cramer, a 25-year-old consultant and one of the march organizers said into a microphone. Black people had every right to protest given their role in American history, he said. ‘If I built it’, he said, ‘I can burn it down’.
‘I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats…That makes sure that person has clothes…That is reparations. Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance’.
You won’t find many bigger supporters of free speech than me. Protests can bring people together for a common cause, and hopefully a righteous one. Rioting and looting accomplish what? You tell me. As they say back home in Maine, you don’t shit where you eat. I think the same concept applies to burning down the cities where you live. When all that’s left is smoke and rubble, I suppose you have peace in the nothing that’s left. What’s the 1970’s Billy Preston song lyric: “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’/You gotta have somethin’ if you wanna be with me”.
Making metaphor about today’s D.C. rain: A storm roars across the American continent. Protests are thunder. Lightning are the riots burning buildings. During a storm, thunder more often sounds than lightning flashes—and rarely does it destroy. When the storm passes, there is calm. There is peace. The air is wet and moist. Earth, foliage, and trees are fresh and renewed.
I understand that people seeing systemic racism are angry about it. They are a storm to be reckoned with—and for some of them with fury as devastating as Hurricane Laura, which slammed the Gulf Coast two days ago. But I ask: How will destruction achieve peace? When you destroy businesses for which other people invested their lives and livelihoods, how does that bring justice? You surely can create anger—multiply resentment. So where there was one person angry, now there are two; or more!
Deliberate arson and looting achieves peace how? Educate me, because I don’t understand. But I recognize how anger multiplied leads to greater conflict among people, and when that happens there is “no justice, no peace”. Everyone loses.
Returning to the dove metaphor, anger multiplied will kill peace. That is my prognosis. I assert flipping around the slogan: “No Peace, No Justice”. The storm has national attention; it can clean and refresh our society. Can that happen if hurricane winds blow down all the buildings or lightning torches the rest?
The core title of today’s march is apropos. The event brought together Americans from around the country in common cause. Fantastic! The event organizers could, and should, assume national leadership for all participants. Make a commitment to bring peace for the sake of achieving justice. Because you will never have justice if anarchy prevails and the scrawny dove of peace is killed in the violence.
Have I too brutally mixed my metaphors to make any sense?
Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 28mm; 10 a.m. PDT.