So I was walking down Broadway in downtown Oakland last night, coming back from a protest. A young black woman happened to be walking alongside me with her two kids, about ten and eight. “I hope Russia and China drop a bomb on here and wipe everybody out,” she said to her kids. Then she said it again, so I turned to her and said, “yeah, but they’d get the good people with the bad ones.” She said something to the effect that all the good people were being killed off already, and anyway, I didn’t have to worry about it. Something like that.
“Well,” I told her, “you don’t really know that. You don’t know who my children and my grandchildren are.”
She immediately changed. “You know, you’re right. I apologize,” she said. Then we got to talking. I commented that there were lots of people who were really disgusted with what was going on in this country. She just kind of looked at me.
We talked about Tamir Rice and Laquan McDonald and why it was that thousands of people weren’t out protesting in the streets, and maybe people felt like there was nothing they could do.
Then she said something about a master plan to “get rid of all of us by 2050.” We talked about that a little. I just commented that if “I want to steal from you and that woman over there (pointing to a woman standing 15 feet away), my best bet is to get the two of you to distrust each other, to think that one of you is stealing from the other. Divide and conquer.”
Then it was time to go. We shook hands and told each other our names. “You’ve made my new years,” I told her. I don’t know why, but it was true. No great words of wisdom were exchanged. Just a human contact.
For a revolutionary New Year.