The only thing I'm going to say about Ferguson
So, I've purposefully stayed off facebook for the last 12+ hours because I wanted to spend some time thinking about this whole mess because I specifically since I find so often that immediate outrage requires reflection before it can be distilled into meaningful wisdom.
Firstly, to address the immediate situation. There's a critical failure of justice, and the rule of law that has occurred. Once again, the forces of moral cowardice and systemic racism have won out over wisdom, fairness, and any sort of allegiance to due process. There's no working around that simple fact. The necessity of an open, public, and fair trial for Officer Wilson was paramount, and that the grand jury failed to acknowledge this is galling.
Secondly, the riots on the ground are understandable, and I'm not going to sit in my Harvard Ivory Tower and finger-wag at those involved. I'd likely an active participant if I were anywhere near Ferguson. This said, the long view of history, and wisdom show that riots won't get us anywhere our goals of racial equity, economic redistribution of wealth, or any sort of meaningful political or social gains. Neither will insipid, simple slogans, hashtags, or boisterous threats of violence towards the state or law enforcement. Change is hard, and fraught with disappointments and setbacks.
Thirdly, as many of us forget, there is no easy way to fix this. There is no fixed set of enemies of progress. There is no plan for revolution, or system dismantlement that will lead you to the promised land. The only path forward is the messy road of real, lasting, political engagement. There is no way to talk away systemic racism. Endless essays upon essays will be consigned to the waste bins of history. Deconstructions and revolutionary slogans will disappear into the mists of time. That is, unless, they are followed through will consistent action that reaches out and effects those who aren't already amongst the faithful.
I don't want to have to tell my son, the way my father told me, that you should always be cautious around police. That you should never do anything suspicious, because no one will blink twice when you get railroaded in court. That you have to work twice as hard to get half as far. But, that's going to require people on all fronts beyond outsider activists, who by their disengagement can argue from a vantage of moral impeccability. It'll require lawyers, and teachers, and doctors and politicians, and people working all angles of the system, inside and out to get things done.
In conclusion, I encourage everyone not in the immediate area of Ferguson to take a step back, come up with how you can personally change and grow such that you can better be the change you wish to see. What is your ideal of justice, and how you can live more in line with it? What skills do you have to contribute towards this mission? Where do you want to see the world by the time the next generation reaches adulthood?