This post is not about stairs.

This post is not about stairs.

It is about me trying to understand what’s happening in my city, country, and culture. I do it the best way I know how, through metaphors.

If you were walking up the stairs and saw this, what would you do?

Minneapolis, Apr 2, 2021

A New Step #1 was recently installed with new wood. The Old Step #2 matches the original build.

Where would you put your weight to climb the stairs: On #1 or #2? In other words, the question is whether you trust the old or trust the new.

There’s no right answer in every case. Each case depends on the context and personality.

Put my weight on the new: The old step broke away due to time and disintegration. So it’s more likely that the other old step will break, too. The new was installed with newer, better parts.

Put my weight on the old: The old has still more experience than the new, which hasn’t been tested yet. Maybe it was installed wrong and I’m about to find out. The new could be incompatible withe the original build.

This post is about Daunte Wright and Kim Potter. It’s about split second decisions. About desperation and stress. About equality and justice.

Daunte Wright was killed by Kim Potter. This loss is a tragedy for our city, country, and culture. The protests, counter-protests, and surrounding conversation are as much about the moments that ended one life and changed another as it is about competing ideologies; about where we should put our weight.

Old Step #1 broke, and the New Step #1 inserted itself in. There is a new movement calling for justice, demanding outrage, and condemning silence.

We as a people are now looking at Old Step #2.

Is Old Step #2 sturdy or most likely to break?

Was the breaking of Old Step #1 an outlier occurrence, or was it an indicator that the old wood is disintegrating?

Do we trust the original foundations or do we think it’s likely to break and hurt someone else?

Is the New Step #1 incompatible with the original build, or is it more advanced with updated parts?

This very week, during the Chauvin trials of the killing of George Floyd, ideologies are arguing louder than ever again. We have to choose whether to protect Step #2 and trust the sturdiness that lasts. Or we have to choose to replace the outdated old wood and replace it with a newer and updated build.

I was there during the outrage of Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Franklin Ave Bridge, May 28, 2020

The air smelled of anarchy and new beginnings. We watched the burning smoke from rooftops. Everyone talked about the same thing. Eyes glued to social media. The motorcycles and trucks on the distant highway revved their engines with a guttural roar. The police were on defense. They wouldn’t answer if we called.

George Floyd was killed, and we were at the epicenter of the aftermath.

We were confident in our belief, but unsure about the future. Like a hero sneaking through a thick forest brush, we crept into a different world. Nervous, excited, nauseated. Time moved slowly. We have something rotten inside us, and we were finally burning it out.

I didn’t participate in the protesting. We were hesitant to leave our house.

There were good protesters and good cops, both working together within the confines of our structures. There were also stupid people on both sides, escalating issues and causing unnecessary trouble.

Eventually, we helped clean up the streets during the day while protests continued at night. I didn’t condemn the burning. After all, something had to give. But I mourned the collateral losses of the innocent.

I live in the exhausted majority. I don’t back my full weight behind either wing of the United States socio-political arena. My beliefs are fluid and depend on the situation and the context. I don’t align my beliefs with either of the political poles. Here’s what I know:

I believe that we discriminate unfairly in our culture, especially against people of color through racism. I believe that police have the responsibility to de-escalate tense situations without lethal force. I believe in peaceful protest to demand change.

I believe in the good of people.

I believe that police who protect and serve are pivotal and respectable in our society. I believe that criminals take advantage of police de-escalation tactics to get out of justice. I believe that burning and looting property is not a peaceful protest.

So, on the issue on police brutality, I can’t pick a side. I’m exhausted of thinking that we have to pick one. I hear both sides with valid arguments but not every situation fits the same narrative.

It’s ok to not decide on these types of complex issues. They involve multiple steps that we can rarely agree on by themselves: where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. All three factors are open to deep debate. We must be flexible to work toward the answer. The effective resolution will be a mix, including the best ideas from a diverse set of perspectives.