One Year After the Dallas Police Ambush, I Am Weary

My soul is weary with sorrow. -- Psalm 119:28A year ago, as Dallas was reeling from an unthinkable tragedy, I wrote an article warning that too many people in our society had lost hope and that people without hope can easily become disillusioned and dangerous. The article said hate does not exist in a vacuum and that there would always be consequences to allowing hatred to go unchecked.In revisiting that place of wrath and sorrow 12 months later, my thoughts on the subject have not changed. I still believe hate cannot exist in a vacuum and people without hope become disillusioned and veer toward dangerous actions. If anything, after spending a year witnessing the impact of elected officials using fear and intolerance instead of real leadership to accomplish their goals, my thoughts on this matter have been validated.While my thoughts on this topic may not have changed, in many respects, I have. I am not the same person I was a year ago. I am tired. Not the tired that comes from a lack of sleep or physical fatigue, but the tired that comes from the inability to find peace of mind. It is the tired that seeps into your soul after you have witnessed a seemingly unrelenting stream of pain, suffering and despair.My grandmother and mother called this place "weariness." It is weariness that haunts one's spirit when living in a country where compassion is treated as weakness. It is the weariness that comes from being asked to look past the evil found in evil men and to believe that somehow one day we shall all be free. It is the weariness that is birthed from existing in a society where there are two sets of laws, one for the separate and another for the unequal.So, it is from this place of weariness that we must find a way forward by understanding what came before. It is not possible now, nor was it possible one year ago, to view what happened on that night in July as a stand-alone event. Rather, it must be seen as part of a family tree that was planted during slavery and nurtured in the Jim Crow South. Its leaves are the gentrified communities, food deserts and prisons of our country. And from its branches drip the blood of Emmett Till, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile and countless others whose stories must always be told.So the questions become: What now Dallas? What now America? How do we heal a city and a country where there is real pain? How do we create a place where all of our citizens feel welcome when so many people are invested in maintaining the source of the pain?We must face the fact that we are a society where far too many black and brown men, women and children live with the fear of their liberties being trampled upon for no other reason than they fit a profile. For these Americans, there is no safe space in the streets and no solace in the courts. When the laws of a society are enforced in an unjust manner, where do the average go for their justice?These are questions that Dallas must answer for herself. One need only listen to the frustration in the voices on all sides of our city to know that we are not immune to the pain and weariness coursing through the rest of the country's veins. People are angry and they have a right to be. We no longer want leaders who talk like lions but sacrifice like lambs.Dallas cannot be a region that cries at memorials, winces at Trump's Washington, but applauds Abbott's Austin. The hypocrisy must end. If it does not, there shall be no wall that can shield the status quo from the power of the supposed powerless.Michael J. Sorrell is the president of Paul Quinn College. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News. Email:'s your view?Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.  Continue reading...

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