Put me in the blender and press ‘speed.’ I want the events of the past couple of weeks to make some kind of sense. Not this.

Just when we thought things were going in the right direction, the rug got pulled out from underneath us. A terrible misuse of force by some police officers, unnecessarily took the life of another human being. Down we went, back down the rabbit hole.

Our bandage ripped off before we had a chance to heal. Propelled from one disaster into another human tragedy. A nation dealing with fear and unwanted incarceration was now being used to promote more anxiety and fear.

Suddenly the virus disappeared from the media. We couldn’t go to church on Sunday or eat inside a restaurant, but we marched shoulder to shoulder against wrongs that needed to be right.  

Retail stores were not allowed to be opened, but mobs could break the windows and beat the doors down, steal and then set what was left on fire.

What part of any of this make sense!?! Who thinks that destruction cures the pain and makes our lives better? What comes after everything is destroyed? What happened to freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration?

Did the rules and guidelines change for the COVID-19 or living the American dream? Can I now go outside without a mask? Forget the social distancing? Forget about respecting my neighbors? Torch others’ hard work and opportunities because we have limited ourselves to less than what is possible.

No. America is the melting pot of ideas, nationalities and values. We are not the mosaic tile or the salad combo. We are the melting pot of each other’s existence bringing us together not tearing us apart.

We all want to live peaceably, show respect for each other, have equal opportunities, be governed by laws that apply to everyone.  We want the opportunity to send our kids to good school.

The chance to improve our neighborhoods. Economic prospects for good paying jobs or to start our own businesses. Some of us will do it better than others; there are no guarantees you will do it the first time or the second. But you can’t do it at all if you don’t try.  

Take this time to remember we are not perfect, but we strive to continually make our country a better place for ALL to live. Not by destroying but improving, by giving everyone the opportunity to achieve a more prosperous and meaningful life.

It starts with each of us and how we treat those around us.   We can wear masks, social distance and demonstrate peaceably. We are Americans.  

J. Ackerman Werner is the self-published author of The Cellomaker series and a Rantoul native who now resides in Washington, D.C. (Cellomakerseries@gmail.com)