A Life, A Family, An Income, Forever Changed by the System
Where does a broken-down, suffering man take his pain? Who will bear witness to that pain? Who will help him regain his intrinsic human worth and dignity after being crushed by a system, a system so brutal, a system stacked against him from cradle to grave, a system who’s sole intent is to steal from him, and deny him, his God given right to exist as a man.
Last night I heard a story, an all too common story, of one man’s suffering at the hands of that system. The “choice” to sell drugs (as if a “choice” really existed between dealing drugs and earning a “grown man’s wages”) to support his family; a twenty year cycle of incarceration, incarceration so devoid of humanity that it can keep a man, AT WILL, caged in solitary confinement for thirty seven months; a human being reduced to trying to hold onto his sanity by having conversations with his children’s pictures and answering himself in their voice; a man released back into that same system that caged him with the designation of FELON, which now, forever, sentences him to a life of marginalization.
Where does he go now when the FELON designation denies him work, denies him any public assistance with housing or food, denies him the right to vote?
Before we judge him, consider from where we sit making that judgement.
Before we say he had a choice, ask ourselves, “what choice?”
Before we say he should have pulled himself up by his bootstraps, ask if he has boots.
Am I my brother’s keeper?