Thursday, June 21, 2012

The King's Speech

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rodney King. His life and choices have been under the glare of a judgmental public eye for about twenty years. I'm not sure many could bear what he has been through and come out OK from it.
His choices were definitely wrong on the night of March 2, 1991. He was driving drunk. He could have killed someone or himself just because of that foolish choice. Beyond that, he resisted arrest and did not cooperate with the police. From there, things got horribly ugly. I don't know fully the reason for him receiving the beating he got from the police, but it was awful to see and clearly excessive. This incident has plenty of people to blame.
Later in life, King battled substance issues continually and it seems that he never could find the strength to conquer some of the torment that followed him the rest of his life. Again, can any other person survive what he went through and receive the judgement that surrounds him without deep hurt? It is sad to hear that many who were close to him speak of him as a deeply caring individual who they were rooting for and that he had a kind a generous side that the public ignored.
Yet he carried the burden of being the lightning rod of the LA Riots.The anger there was equally horrible and unjust compared to what King endured at the hands of the police. Again, so many are to blame for what has happened.
What I really want to convey is that despite King's issues and under such deep criticism he gave in my opinion one of the most important speeches on race. It is one that beckons us to look towards a Healer. I find it offensive that people have used his statements in a condescending way. For some reason, people of all colors seems to find his words naive, foolish and even stupid. Yes, it wasn't eloquent, but is had a lot of honesty and heart. In that moment, Rodney King stepped up and changed the world. To that I feel he took responsibility and deserves a positive place in history.
God desires for us to heal. First our hearts need to be healed through reconciling and humbling ourselves before a Savior. Second, we need to heal the hurts that occur between us. Racial conflict at its heart is the same issue that plagues this fallen world: sin. We need healing. Rodney King's speech spoke to step two. May we all find step one and only then will step two truly happen.

"I just want to say - you know - can we all get along? can we, can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids? And... I mean we've got enough smog in Los Angeles let alone to deal with setting these fires and things... it's just not right - it's not right. And it's not going to change anything. We'll get our justice; they've won the battle, but they haven't won the war. We'll get our day in court and that's all we want.
And, just, uh, I love - I'm neutral, I love every - I love people of color. I'm not like they're making me out to be.
We've got to quit - we've got to quit; I mean after-all, I could understand the first - upset for the first two hours after the verdict, but to go on, to keep going on like this and to see the security guard shot on the ground - it's just not right; it's just not right, because those people will never go home to their families again. And uh, I mean please, we can, we can get along here. We all can get along - we just gotta, we gotta.
I mean, we're all stuck here for a while, let's, you know let's try to work it out, let's try to beat it, you know, let's try to work it out."

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