WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO END FIRST?

RACISM HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 400 YEARS. COVID-19 GOT HERE IN MARCH. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PROTESTING FOR 3 WEEKS. WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO END FIRST? 


There have been one or two times in my life where “history” hit me. Slapped me straight in my face. An overhand right to the nose I broke when I was 13. I know people talk about where they were and remember how they felt when they heard that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. They can remember where they watched the moon landing. Where they were and what they were doing on 9/11. For me, I remember 9/11 because I was doing ‘One On One' at the time and it was a week where we were on break. So I sat there and watched the coverage all day. Not only did I not quite understand what I was watching, I didn't understand how tall the World Trade Centers were. And how in the blink of an eye nearly 3,000 people could be gone.


As a Californian, I don't really see that many high-rise buildings. I'd visited New York once or twice in my life and always felt claustrophobic when walking in between the buildings. I would look up and I didn’t understand how they stayed upright. It's a marvel of engineering my brain still can’t understand. But two weeks after 9/11 as I was driving through Century City, I stopped to look at the buildings and thought for a moment that the two buildings that came down in New York were twice as tall as anything I was looking at. I got a sense of the weight of what had just happened to America. It made me want to cry. I think I may have.

But I think the time that I was hit most by history was when I visited Dallas, Texas. I, like everybody, had seen the Zapruder footage. Think about this. That shit was possibly the first cell phone footage of a killing. Just a dude filming some shit. And it’s still being debated. Good luck with George Floyd. I had watched the taking of Kennedy's life since I was a child. So as I was driven around Dallas to see the sights and turned the corner into Dealey Plaza, I was struck with the feeling of, “This is where it happened. It happened right here!” There are a couple of “X’s” on the ground where Kennedy was struck. There’s the book depository. And people milled about as conspiracy theorists passed out magazines. But it was right there where history happened. There was no denying it.


We often forget that in 30, 40, 50 years people will look back on this time and ask why we did or didn't do more. Martin Luther King was assassinated 52 years ago. The Tulsa Massacre happened in 1921. 9/11 happened 19 years ago. It will be clear to your children and grandchildren what needed to be done at this moment in our history. And they will ask us why we did or didn't do the things that needed to be done. They will ask why it took 425 years to eradicate racism. They will ask how the vaccine for Coronavirus compared to the vaccine for polio. They will ask why we didn’t go to war with China if they were responsible for 120K deaths. (Hey righties, explain that to me. You don’t want a fair fight, you want a winnable fight. Wage war against Taiwan if you need someone you can beat. New York was a Blue State. Corovna is killing people in Red States. Why no call to war?). Your children and grandchildren will ask questions where you will have to tell them the truth. You will have to tell them that you identified more with the shop owner than the oppressed people. How you cried for someone who lost property over someone who lost their lives. You’ll have to say that out loud to them.

©2020 Kelly Perine. All Rights Reserved.