They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one definitely is and more. What strikes me though is not the “Not In Service” on the bus behind the police nor even the intimating visual of a militarized police in the dark. It’s that there are no distinguishable faces, no eyes to look into. The police look almost robotic, like looking at Boba Fet clones in Star Wars. It’s enigmatic of “the state’s” usurping of our humanity for a noble cause – serving and protecting. Here, humanity is lost to riot gear and billy clubs, behind plastic masks, shin guards, knee pads and hard shell. It prompts the inquisitive child within me to want to walk up to them and ask, “Who’s in there?”
Yesterday I saw a meme on Facebook that said, “F— the police, but love the police officer.” I think this picture helps clarify that point. Before us is the police, void of humanity. Also before us (more importantly), are police officers behind all that gear, who have families, hopes and fears, just like those on the other side of the one taking the picture. In other words, behind all of that there is humanity.
The challenge for all in such a time as this is getting through the layers to our neighbor’s humanity (particularly for white middle class males such as myself). It’s seeing through the illusions of the powers and the principalities that Paul spoke of and of the illusions of the world that John spoke of.