It’s been a ghastly week, and we all could probably use to focus our eyes on something of beauty, rather than on fiery, tear-gassed news stories. Roses are blooms with a long history – some of it excessively bloody. A popular symbol in medieval heraldry, the Houses of Lancaster and York each had a rose in theirs; the House of Lancaster’s rose was red, and that of the House of York was white. For most of the 15th century, the two families feuded over the throne of England, in something that later was to be referred to as the Wars of the Roses.
The blood on our streets today are for a different cause, but it’s still a power struggle. It’s no longer red vs white – now it’s black vs white, and a much more widespread affair. Of course racism is nothing new. Remember Rodney King? (Can you believe that was almost 40 years ago? (Edited to say 30 years, as my dear fact checkers pointed out. My math isn’t always great – LOL!) Of course it wasn’t new then either… and it hasn’t really abated since. Sigh.) BUT, if there is any silver lining at all to this horrific, cold-blooded murder, it is that this time around, ALL races, ages, and genders are taking part in the global protests to this display of oppression, that resulted. The old “lines” are blurred, and the great moral majority oppose the targeted injustices that are so painfully and tragically alive and well in our society. And, lucky us – there is an election coming up, so please don’t give up. Where hopelessness flourishes, injustices thrive.
So, where does the rose come in, again? Well, we need to keep the beauty and purity of what can be in laser focus, and keep our thorns at the ready for furthering those ideas. When things look bleak, let’s inhale its magnificent perfume, and keep going. The sweet scent of roses will eventually overpower the stench of racism and hate. The Yorks and the Lancasters were indeed polarized, but I’m willing to bet the bottom strata of their society didn’t care one bit, as long as they were able to keep plowing the fields for their masters, and hopefully able to put food on their tables. Come November, we – the now polarized serfs of current society – need to prioritize the core ideas of a free democracy over those of a fettered authoritarianism, and hopefully not just blindly adhere to old party allegiances. Together we’re going to vote out racism, and sever whatever shredded ties remain with McCarthyism, once and for all. November can’t come soon enough.