By Joe Ragonese
Race relations in America today are worse today than in nearly five decades. But, they are only a symptom of a much deeper problem.  In a conversation with an African-American that I know, I learned just how bad, and deep, the problem is.  This man, whom we will call ‘Pete’ for this article, is an ex-police officer, a college educated man, who is not a racist, nor a bigot.  Although, he often votes Democrat, he has voted for Republicans, and intends to do so in the next Governor’s race in Illinois.
He believes in right and wrong, does not think Obama was good for the African-American community; in fact, he believes that Obama’s policies hurt Blacks.  He understands that economic progress is the only way to aid the lower black community, and hopes that President Trump’s policies will cause an easing of their hardships.  Although not a Trump fan, he wishes that the President can bring back the economy.  He is not a hard leftist who only hopes the worst for Trump.
Understanding Pete’s open mindedness on most issues, this writer was shocked, and saddened, at the outcome of a conversation about Black Lives Matter and police and other shootings dealing with black men.
After a lengthy conversation dealing with a multitude of issues, the issue of Black Lives Matter arose.  He believes that everyone supporting BLM are merely kind people who see a problem with the unwarranted killing of innocent, unarmed, black men.  I could not let his statements go unanswered.
I called BLM a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of at least a dozen police officers across the country, and the ambush shootings of dozens of others.  As proof, I told him that the founders of the organization, three lesbian females, espouse communist beliefs and support for the New Black Panther Party, who wants blacks to kill whites, especially police officers of any color, and demand a complete separation of the races.
Pete was flabbergasted at my assessment of BLM, stating that everyone he knows who supports the organization does not feel that way.  He said that he never read or heard anything about BLM supporting chants like “Kill the police, kill whites,” or “pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon.”  Of course he went on to cite CNN news and NBC news as his sources.
The wonder of the modern age is that a smartphone is also a mini computer.  I pulled up BLM’s charter, with the statements above written in their ‘her-story.’  As the founders are also feminist, they cannot phantom the thought of correctly spelling history.  Pete glanced at thedocument and quickly changed the subject.
He brought up the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.  Pete vehemently felt that Martin should not have been killed by a vigilante (whom he called George Zimmerman, who was a neighbor watchman, not a vigilante) for simply wearing a hoodie.  Again, I could not allow false facts to go unanswered.
I pointed out that Martin was not walking on the street or near it, rather on private property, next to the houses, in the shadows, while wearing that hoodie to mask his features.  Pete had never heard what I said before.  I quoted one of his news sources, NBC, who excused Martin’s behavior stating that it was raining and Martin was merely trying to use the eaves on the roofs to keep the rain off of him.
To which, Pete than said that that young man shouldn’t have died for simply walking through a gated community.  I pointed out that he knew no one in this gated community, and stated that he was going to his mother’s house in another housing development, not far away.  Pete completely ignored the facts that the behavior on Martin’s part were not normal (after all, Pete was at one time a police officer and would have questioned Martin himself if he had seen like behavior), and as a neighborhood watchman, Zimmerman rightfully questioned Martin on what he was doing and where he was going.  Zimmerman then called the police, who advised him to back off and await patrol officers; which he did.
But Martin, by the way, not that cute skinny kid in his eighth grade graduation picture that was the only one shown by the media, but the over six foot, muscled thug that he was, chose not to let the slight against him go unanswered.  (Martin was on the phone with a girl at this time and the start of his attack, and the fact that he wasn’t going to let it go was used as a part of the defense evidence to exonerate Zimmerman.)
He attacked Zimmerman, gained an immediate advantage, took him to the ground, and kept smashing his head onto the macadam roadway.  The aggressiveness, the thug like behavior, and the pummeling that Zimmerman was undertaking, led him to legitimately fear for his life; and he pulled his legally carried concealed weapon, and shot Martin once.  Martin died of that wound.
Based on these facts, a jury found that Zimmerman acted reasonably and lawfully, and even the full weight of the Obama DOJ could not find any evidence to contradict the evidence and testimony.  Martin’s actions caused Zimmerman’s reaction and Trayvon suffered the consequences of his bad behavior and decisions.  Martin did not deserve to die, but it was his own actions that cost him his life.
Pete’s reaction was shocking, he demanded to know where I heard any of that, and when I told him that it is a matter of record, he said that everyone knows that people change their testimony to save themselves.  When I pointed out that each point was corroborated by independent witnesses and other evidence, he said that he didn’t want to hear anymore.  As I used my phone to bring up the testimony, Pete turned and walked away, saying that he didn’t want to see it.
And therein lies the cusp of the problem, people are not willing to listen to facts, they only want to believe what fits their own narrative.  Whether it’s race relations, or man-made global warming, or even a person’s sex, there are those who will not be swayed by facts.
Race relations in America today were heightened by Obama’s anti-white hatred and bigotry, to the point that otherwise reasonable people cannot openly discuss race without causing friction.  It is a symptom of the divide within this nation, one so deep that unless compromise and reasonableness once again become the standard of civilized behavior, we are doomed to repeat the conflicts that resulted in our two civil wars, the battle for independence and the battle to abolish slavery.
In each case compromise and reason were shunned for taking a stand on the issues that each person believed to be important to them.  It led to armed conflict and the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.  The conversation between Pete and this writer symbolizes that exact stand today.  Neither of us was willing to simply allow the other to speak their minds, we both felt compelled to tell our side of the story; no matter who was right or who was wrong.
The state of race relations in America today are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the deep problems facing all of us.  Our civilization is at stake.  After each of our two civil wars, this nation was irrevocably changed; it will be again if the state of our nation does not make a dramatic change soon.  What America will look like after the next civil war is anyone’s guess, but it won’t be what it is like today, and certainly not what it was like in the tranquil 1950’s.