Sunday, June 17, 2012

Can't we all just get along?

I can't believe that Rodney King--a man only 2 years older than me--is dead.
I feel bad for his family.
I want to say something nice about him, even though he was an alcoholic.  Normally, I can't stand alcoholics, but Rodney admitted on Patt Morrison's show earlier this year, during the 20th (TWENTIETH!) anniversary of the riots, that he struggles with alcohol.  he struggles (struggled) to be a good person.
But here's the thing about Rodney King:  Usually, alcoholics are nasty.  The term "mean drunk" is just another way to say "alcoholic".  Most alcoholics are angry, and when their frontal lobe has been dissolved in ethanol, they feel free to vent their spleen at somebody who pissed them off when they were a kid.
So, what did Rodney King do at the height of the riots, when the TV reporters shoved their cameras in his face?
Did he say, "Fuck white people"?
No.
Did he say, "LAPD got what's coming to it?"
No.
The man trembled, and cried, and felt horrible about the fact that the city was on fire because of him (Actually, it wasn't his fault, it was the ultimate ex-Marine's fault, that arrogant moron, Daryl Gates).  Rodney King--a guy who wasn't that smart, not well-educated, not a smooth-talking, articulate guy who could sell ice cubes to Eskimos, stood in front of the cameras, and with tears rolling down his face asked, "Can't we all just get along?"

Did the riots end because he said that on TV, or because enough uniformed men with guns showed up from all over California, or because the rioters themselves grew tired of the burning and looting?

Probably a combination of all three, but Rodney King--with all of his shortcomings--didn't pour fuel on the flames, and we must never forget that.

2 comments:

dwesley said...

You just expressed a very fine and noble sentiment. In days gone by I might have said that was very Christian of you, but unfortunately that connotation has taken on a different meaning of late.

But, we really do need to figure out a way to "just get along."

Thomas Geza Miko said...

Hi Dave
I just read an interesting magazine article about an evangelical preacher in Texas named Rob Bell who wants to take his fellow Evangelicals in a different direction.