The suicide death of Robin Williams has touched me. I saw him in person once, at Heathrow Airport being escorted through the masses. But that’s not the connection I feel. I thought he was a tortured genius with success, love and fame. But it wasn’t enough to keep him on this earth. That’s what rocks me. He had what we all think would make us happy, but it wasn’t enough. What IS enough?
This morning, I sat in my car listening to the father of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18 year old who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO. He said that there was no color, no race, no gender to justice and that’s what he wanted – justice. A commentator said that in the 100 years since the film, “The Birth of a Nation” portrayed black men as aggressive, stupid animals we are still fighting the very real issues of racism and prejudice. Why are we so afraid of people who don’t look like us?
Nauseated, I cannot stop listening as the BBC describes the horror in Iraq brought on by extremism. Political, religious, prejudicial, and misogynistic extremism. The world seems to be reacting because the minority groups being affected share western beliefs. Shouldn’t we have cared when Saddam was testing chemicals on Kurds? Shouldn’t we have cared when women were killed because they showed skin – and I am not talking about sexy skin. Shouldn't we just care for other humans?
As I gathered up my purse, briefcase, coffee and water to get out of the car, I catch a piece on HIV deniers who took ads out in South Africa saying anti-retro virals were dangerous and all they needed was vitamins,South African sweet potatoes and garlic to rid themselves of AIDS. My God, my God, why have those in need been so forsaken? How can those people sleep at night knowing they are killing millions while making millions?
And in my in-box this morning, the latest stats on human trafficking show that nearly 21 million people – let’s be clear – men, women and children are trafficked for forced labor or commercial sex. Not just in some skanky shop on foreign soil, but right here where you live. Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in this country: Houston, El Paso, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Long Island, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, St Louis, Seattle, and Tampa. And isn’t it clever for us to think of it as forced labor or human trafficking instead of what it is – slavery. What are we thinking?!
Finally, the king of scream/yell radio who bitches about everything he hasn’t deemed worthy, Rush Limbaugh has declared Robin Williams committed suicide because the “left” are angry, unhappy people. Well, Mr. Limbaugh, why aren’t YOU mad, angry or unhappy at the world we are living in? Why aren’t you changing it instead of bitching about it? Why on earth would you take profound tragedy – death, disease, destruction, poverty, and slavery – and make it political AS IF you know how to cure the world’s ills but won’t share until we think like you? Why don’t you take your bully pulpit, and although your asshole should be big enough to contain it, instead do something to change the world? Why don’t you put aside the need to be “right” and become someone who does right?
It’s a wonder anyone can get up in the morning, smile and face their lives. Thank God they can and do.
So on my walk through campus to my office, I cried.