“Government and culture are two diametrically opposed forces – the one blinds and oppresses, the other uplifts and unites.”
Illumination and transparency as tools for providing clarity and generating understanding are accessible to government officials and artists alike. However, agenda often obfuscates the prism of perspective through which individuals ascertain the truth. More plainly, if the truth gets in the way of one’s vision of what is right, it may be dismissed or altered to align with the prerogative of the beholder. Often, purveyors of culture are recalcitrant about a connection between the powers that be and the creators of beauty and intrigue. However, a nexus of connection exists when the only game plan is one which honors a common need and fulfills a common good.
“To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty.”
As we make our way through life in a country imbued by fear, consternation and often crippling uncertainty; the question to forgive those responsible for generating a climate of anxiety is an unpopular one. But first, we must question why leaders choose terror before embarking on the dark path towards forgiveness. As we resist, we may remember that revolution often results in immense suffering and even upon regime change, upheaval may only result in rubble. As I write about Newark, the people of the Brick City and the untold stories of survival in this powerful city, at times it seems impossible not to ponder to whom will the spoils of the invigoration of downtown Newark be? Are we glimpsing a fresh dawn for a revitalized community or the empowerment of commerce for corporate America.
“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”
How dare anyone challenge those left out of opportunity? Should those shut out of promise and blinded by false claims for a fruitful future, permit a cancellation of any modicum of anger or resentment towards those who have attempted to render them lame, powerless and inured? However, when I ask myself T.S. Eliot’s timeless question: “Do I dare…Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? For the invisible and marginalized, how dare I not do so. What I hope is that the acknowledgement of the truth is offered to the people of Newark and the request for forgiveness becomes a conversation which becomes one that continues to develop and provides reconciliation.
“The conservatives who say, “Let us not move so fast,” and the extremists who say, “Let us go out and whip the world ,” would tell you that they are as far apart as the poles. But there is a striking parallel: They accomplish nothing; for they do not reach the people who have a crying need to be free.”
-Martin Luther King Jr. Why We Can’t Wait
Navigating the journey through the gossamer fog of memory into the promise of the future in such a compelling landscape is an enlightening journey of point of view, possession and charged by the trail-blazing spirit of “Manifest Destiny.”