“CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”  Rodney King, May 1992

This week marks the 30th Anniversary of the L.A. Riots or L.A. Uprising.  On April 30th, 1992, L.A. was in an uproar about the not guilty verdicts of the officers who severely beat Rodney King, a Black motorist stopped for speeding.  A video captured the officers kicking him in his head, his sides, and beating him with batons but when they stood trial, despite having a video depiction of the obvious abuse, they were acquitted.  The verdict was unbelievable and set off a host of monumental events in South Central Los Angeles.  Because immediately after the verdict and for days thus after, fed up African Americans took to the streets to protest this senseless beating, the system, its injustices, and its disparities.  For days without police intervention, there was looting, buildings set ablaze, and total chaos.  A white truck driver unknowingly drove through the intersection of the chaos, was pulled from his truck, severely beaten, and rescued by some good samaritans. When in an effort to calm the city’s racial tensions, Rodney King on the news asked the question, “CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”  CAN WE?   Is that possible? Do you believe we CAN?   As I pondered that question, I acknowledged that ALL things are possible and since that’s true, it’s possible that We CAN ALL GET ALONG!!!   So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP as we explore the question “CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?” 

Last week, I read a story of a married couple on a train ride with their 5 or 6-year-old son.  They excitedly wanted to give their child his first adventure and experience of riding a train.  Well, that was short-lived.  See the couple was nontraditional, they were two married men with a little boy. A homophobic passenger who disagreed with their lifestyle went on an anti-gay rant which included accusing them of molesting their child.   At the next stop, the hateful passenger was removed from the train. This family had set out for a wonderful experience that was ruined by someone else’s unfavorable opinions and thoughts about how they lived their lives.  This couple had the freedom to enjoy a peaceful train ride with their son, but because of someone else’s belief, instead, they were on the train ride from hell. Why did this guy feel the need to share his hate and biases so openly?  Why did he care how they lived their lives? What gave him the right to pass judgment? The annoying passenger took liberties that infringed on their rights and that wasn’t his right. This article angered me because I have gay family members who have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. It just broke my heart knowing that while out enjoying their lives, they too could be subjected to this depth of hate. Knowing that we live in a crazy world, I began to wonder CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

Despite the hate that exists in the world, I still believe that WE CAN ALL GET ALONG but realize that it will take a concerted effort from ALL of us.   In order for us to ALL GET ALONG, we must first be willing to change our mindsets and our hearts.  We have to release old notions and beliefs and express a willingness to teach and learn from each other. We must stop focusing on our differences and start focusing on our commonalities.  We must acknowledge that regardless of our differences we ALL belong to GOD.  Understanding this concept gives us the ability to overlook our differences and to see others for who they really are- children of GOD too.  Secondly, knowing and believing that we were ALL created in love and to love, provides the opportunity to experience empathy. Empathy enables us to view life from the perspective of others. It softens our hearts and allows us to freely- give and receive – love from others.  Lastly, we need to learn how to live and let live!! Recognizing that if what others do or don’t do is not affecting us, then it shouldn’t concern us. So what, if they drink or smoke weed, why is that our business?  So what, if they have a different guy or girl every time you see them, why is that our business?  So what if they’ve been locked up for years, why is that our business? So what if they are gay, why is that our business?  It’s NOT!!! Not accepting that others may choose to “do and live” their lives differently than we choose to live ours, doesn’t make them bad people, it makes us judgemental. It just means that we expect people to live the truth that we have for them., instead of the truth, they have for themselves. For us to ALL GET ALONG.,  we have to respect and accept people’s differences without passing or imposing our judgments.

The truth is that because of our varied life experiences, we all have prejudices, biases, and judgments but imposing them on others is clearly unfair and problematic.  What happened to the family on the train was unnecessary and uncalled for, so let’s change it. Let’s work together to create a world in which WE CAN ALL JUST GET ALONG!!. But how? If we become more tolerant and respect the differences of others, WE WOULD ALL GET ALONG. If we accept the fact that none of us are righteous enough to pass judgment on others, WE WOULD ALL GET ALONG. When we understand that we have to give an account to GOD, NOT to each other, WE WOULD ALL GET ALONG.  If we realized that we too have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD, WE WOULD ALL GET ALONG. If we followed GOD’S commandments to love each other as HE has loved us, WE WOULD ALL GET ALONG!! Because when we allow our lives to be governed by GOD’S love, it becomes our YES response to the question…..CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? 

SHIP TALK: CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG

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