By Vernon A. Williams
There was a time in my life when that would have been a ridiculous question. With all our flaws and differences, we always pulled it together for the victory when the game was on the line. We could always count on one another when it really mattered.
Moved by the civil rights movement, the southerner president who succeeded JFK reversed a lifetime of Dixie nurturing and didn’t just sign the Voting Rights Act but incensed his primary constituency with the bold declaration – taken straight from the struggle for equality – saying, “We shall overcome.”
George Wallace, whose lips dripped with words of “interposition and nullification” as Dr. King put it, came to the realization that the racism that once inspired him to defiantly proclaim “segregation forever” was simply misguided, ungodly, and wrong.
If you think this is leading to some wistful thinking that the current administration and his mindless, faithful minions will have a change of heart and embrace the true spirit of unity and oneness in America – no. It’s not. That would be ludicrous for a number of reasons, not the least among which without the role of Hater-in-Chief, what would be his mantra.
But even if the “resident” will never be persuaded, there is still hope that may be borne of this awful string of recent tragedies. This may be the time – on the brink of the 2020 elections – for powers to begrudgingly come together for solutions. Could this finally be the time Americans insist that enough is enough.
After 979 wounded in 248 mass shootings so far this year with 246 dead, Is this it?
I know. We’ve heard it before: When children cried out for help at Sandy Hook; when college students ran for their lives at Virginia Tech; when a monster took 65 lives spraying a Las Vegas crowd exiting a concert; when 49 innocents were cut down at a Florida nightclub; when 19 died at school in Parkland; a record number of slayings at a Las Vegas nightclub; dozens slain at a Florida nightclub.
The chilling reality is that no place is absolutely safe from assault. Not home, not school, not where you work, not where you worship. Given that grim prologue, you may be wondering where all of this is going.
The only solution is to cross lines. People who have virtually no association and few good thoughts about other groups of people must come together. The carnage is already unfathomable. And it won’t be completely eliminated no matter what is done because the Bible says there will always be wars and rumors of war. But it doesn’t have to be this bad.
In the next 14 months, I am praying for and sitting in expectation for there to be an epiphany of the heart of America that – even if temporarily – brings us together for this common cause of ending the violence. It will result in the merger of red and blue mentality in the U.S. to cause a “purple” state of mind (the combination of those two colors).
We will call this era in cooperative living in America, “Purple Reign.” Red may not relinquish its rigid conservatism politically and the same prejudice and discrimination that pervades our society will remain. Blue will not forfeit its commitment to social causes that translate into people concerned over corporate matters. But hands will reach across the aisle on this one. America is about to see what can happen in the spirit of partnership.
So, what can we realistically expect?
“Purple Reign” will be a dominant attitude exclusively pertaining to the issue of violence and overtly hateful rhetoric that perpetuates it. People are beginning to realize that bullets fly indiscriminately from high-powered automatic weapons and souls are lost beyond those primarily targeted – including infants and children. In that climate, no one is safe.
No, you shouldn’t expect folks to turn in all of their firearms. But if we can get any closer to some meaningful preventatives or factors that will limit the carnage, it will signal an end to decades of doing virtually nothing to resolve this national crisis. As minute as some of those changes may be, the fact that there is change will be monumental.
“Purple Reign” won’t recapture all the weapons out there, but it may end the sale of some automatic rifles built for nothing but the taking of massive human life. The background checks so badly needed will be placed and enforced. There will be more effort to get guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Those who pose a threat will be more closely monitored. And the rhetoric of hate in social media will be targeted.
The truth is, 92 percent of Americans believe weapons should be more regulated. The ones who don’t are primarily right-wing extremists, gun fanatics and politicians busy feeding at the trough of the National Rifle Association. The forecast is for “Purple Reign” to wash away their ominous influence.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society.Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].