Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
I keep telling myself: history is a pendulum. The Civil Rights act followed The House Committee on Un-American Activities. A gradually increasing degree of Marriage Equality followed embarrassed governmental indifference on AIDS. The Peace Corps outlasted the Vietnam War (at least for those who survived the latter). Israel rose out of the Holocaust, Nelson Mandela from apartheid.
Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes? Is this as hard as it gets? Is this what it feels like to really cry?
~~ Kelly Clarkson, Cry
It gets better. It will get better. Right? There will be a day when the stalking against police instruction and subsequent killing of an unarmed teenager will not be excused by the hoodie he was wearing, by the presence of a sidewalk. We can do better. We must do better. May God forgive us for taking so long.