I’ve been thinking a lot about our nation recently, the issues it faces and the direction we are heading. While we all may have our differences of opinion, especially on political matters, the state of our nation today would have been unfathomable just a few years ago.

A pandemic has struck the entire globe, but our country is the worst in the world in responding to it.

Our national economy is in a near depression, yet the stock markets are acting like it’s the best of days.

Systemic racism and bigotry, always an undercurrent to our society, now is not only being brought to the forefront but actually being promoted as American by those who claim to have our nation’s best interests at heart.

The continued injustice and systemic racism being faced by African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement, with the most recent terrible events in Kenosha, Wisconsin showing us all we need to know about this issue:

• An unarmed black man, in front of his three children, was shot 7 times in the back by a police officer.

• A white man carrying an assault weapon, with his arms up, in the immediate vicinity of a shooting that killed 2 people is allowed to leave by the same police force without as much as a question.

Who among us can seriously say if a black man had been carrying the weapon he would have been allowed to pass, nevertheless not shot?

This is not the America I was brought up in, or at least I thought was our country.

However, if I was saddened by the events in Kenosha, the reaction by some of our fellow Americans to these events has disturbed me, too.

On Facebook, I saw two people share memes of one of the Kenosha protesters killed being shot in the head and laughing about it. How does one get so emotionally detached from reality that they think it is funny to share the moment of the murder of a person?

Both of those “friends” were immediately unfriended.

After being disgusted by those Facebook posts I was pleased to then read stories about how professional athletes were boycotting games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. They have a voice and a platform they should be using; “good for them,” I thought.

Then I read the comments to those stories: pure vitriolic hatred of our fellow man, degradation of these athletes as nothing more than “entertainment” to please them, and a complete lack of empathy to the fears and legitimate concerns facing African-Americans today.

I had to stop reading the comments, hoping they were bots and not real people.

It’s been said we are in a battle for the soul of our nation, but it’s more than that, the future of our country is at stake.

I don’t know how or when we will solve the many serious issues facing our nation, but I know we must try.

I will and I hope you will, too.

Copyright Mark C. Poloncarz, August 27, 2020