Inside Agitation

I am who I am. I’m a straight, white guy that grew up with many advantages. I won’t apologize for that, as I had nothing to do with it. We don’t get to pick such things. But I’m getting some grey up top, and I have more than a little experience on planet Earth, so I’ll share this. Take it or leave it.

I made the best argument of my legal career in a courtroom in New Albany, Mississippi, while standing a few feet in front of the Mississippi Attorney General, a few years after he had wrongfully convicted an innocent black man of murdering a white man, a few hours after the same A.G. had threatened to put my father in jail for standing up to him. I literally poured out my heart into that courtroom. Strangers hugged me on the courthouse steps afterwards.

We had to wait months for the decision.

We lost.

The Judge didn’t think my argument was worth a damn. I’ve thought about that day a lot, and I know that I couldn’t have done it any better. The law was on our side. The facts were on our side. But we lost. More importantly, our client lost. Such is the case for marginalized people on a daily basis in America.

It’s hard to hope after that.

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes — yours and mine — and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better.

A Time to Kill – Grisham

America is a government of the people and by the people and all of us people are flawed. We’re endowed by our creator with inalienable rights and deceived by evil forces, mainly fear, into thinking that others aren’t. If you’re a minority, you get the short end of this equation more often than not. And so change isn’t going to come from the top. Indeed, it’s less likely to. Those in charge rose to the top by mastering the current system.

So it is not surprising that the protesters want to burn down the system. Just break it, burn it down, and start over. This takes the form of a gas can on the Market House balcony or calls to de-fund police departments across the country. It’s not going to work unless you burn it all down.

If you love America as I do, even with its flaws, you might be more receptive to this closing argument:

Change will come, if at all, by changing the hearts of Americans, and the majority of Americans are decent and good people.

Remember that you are created in the image of God. Seek the truth, not with your eyes or your mind, but with your heart…

…where you don’t know better.

Still Standing

In 1960, Terry Sanford decided to run for Governor. He announced his candidacy in front of the Market House in Fayetteville. At that point in time, Fayetteville was a strategic spot for a state-wide political launch.

Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of ...

More importantly, at that time, you could be a champion of civil rights and still use the Market House as a back drop.

There’s one image that’s been on this website from the beginning. It shows a man under the Market House, looking out over Fayetteville. I think it sums up what I’ve been trying to do.

That picture is staying.

Some pieces of the past need to be remembered.

N.C.’s Two-Mile Hill

Andy Griffith…. why not?

In a favorite episode, Otis, the town drunk, buys a fancy new car. This scares Andy and Barney, the local Sheriffs.

Barney decides to give Otis a driving test, which doesn’t go so well.

Later, Otis passes out at a party. Barney and Andy take him to jail and fake his death in a car accident.

“If only he hadn’t try to drive in that condition. Lickety split, down two-mile hill, around the curve, weaving from side to side, out on old plank bridge, through the rain, into the river….drowned.”

In his drunken stupor, Otis believes he has actually died. He’s “scared straight,” so to speak.

North Carolina’s Two-Mile Hill

Roy Cooper says that we need to have a sustained drop in Covid cases before our economy is allowed to “drive” again.

Well, folks…it ain’t happening.

We’ve flattened our curve into a two-mile hill.

As testing increases, this hill isn’t likely to drop anytime soon.

And so, we’re in this thing for the long-haul.

In other news, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin extended Fayetteville’s curfew. We shouldn’t be out past 9 p.m. or we risk getting a citation.

Colvin said crime was going up and people were having house parties and cook-outs.

Ernest T Bass Throwing Rocks GIF | Gfycat

To close, a new study says sunlight kills the virus.

It’s time to get some fresh air.

Pray for Georgia (Seriously)

I’ve been disheartened by the amount of animosity thrown at Georgia over the past few days. Their Governor will re-open portions of the state’s economy on Friday and his decision is controversial, to say the least.

It seems that there’s only two options:

  1. Support him.
  2. Hate him. Say he’s killing people for money.

The virus is now a political wedge. It’s Red vs. Blue. Everything is.

Executive leaders carry the power to open and close portions of our society, so the partisan wedge is amplified at all levels of executive government right now. It’s Trump vs. Democrats and Cooper vs. Republicans.

We even see it in Fayetteville, with the only Republican on the City Council, Johnny Dawkins, coming out in favor of re-opening and against Democratic Mayor Mitch Colvin’s curfew order.

I think the common thread in all of this is our tribal desire to be “right.” This comes at a cost. Our need to “win” diminishes our ability to reason. We lose empathy and compassion, and we become less human when we see our fellow man as the opposition. I do it too, sometimes.

But back to Georgia…

Things are a lot worse there. More people are sick. More people are dying.

And so, North Carolinians, I ask that you pray for Georgia. Pray the suffering doesn’t increase, because no true American should ever desire the suffering of his fellow citizens.

Here’s a more practical reason: if Georgia’s “gamble” pays off, it means that the virus is not as bad as we fear.

It means our leadership in N.C. will follow suit.

It means we can put this nightmare behind us.

Even if we were wrong.

C. S. Lewis Quote: “If you could see humanity spread out in time ...