Black pants, black shirt, riot shield, helmet, baton, gun, nametag hidden behind black tape. Lights reflect off your faceplate, obscuring your features. You’re not a person to most of us on this side of the barricade. You’re a mindless stormtrooper taking orders from corporate masters. You’re a soulless robot, a nightmare, a monster.
You’re not an individual. You’re a force, a wave of fury, violence in motion, one cog in a machine, one bullet in a gun. You attack, impersonal as a hurricane.
You don’t see us as people either, do you?
If you did, you’d see my face reminds you of your sister; my hands are like those of your first love. You might wonder what my favorite food is or if I have any pets.
I think about who you are, not just because I want a name to tell my lawyer after you burn my eyes or bloody my nose.
Do you like superhero movies? Do you have kids? What sort of house can you afford with thirty pieces of silver? I know the average pay of cops here. If you live a nicer house than mine then you don’t spend much time there. You work a second job. Are you the man who sits in his squad car at the Chinese place I like? Did you smile at me last week when I waved, balancing half a cardboard box of fried rice and moo shu?
If you weren’t going to punch me and zip tie my hands together, could we be friends? Lovers? Would you laugh at my jokes?
We are teachers and students, nurses and firefighters, social workers and foster kids. We want to change the rules so everyone has a fair chance, so no one is a slave to a meager minimum wage paycheck or dies just for being poor.
If you banded with us, would you be able to go to your daughter’s recital instead of standing in line against Americans just like you?
Written for Trifecta’s weekly prompt word.
1: to affix a band to or tie up with a band
2: to finish or decorate with a band
3: to gather together : unite
The picture is from http://www.pghcitypaper.com/, and I think the photographer was Renee Rosensteel.
15 thoughts on “Uniform”
Fierce and tightly written. Well done.
Powerful! The questions you poised draw it down to a very basic and human level. The “what if?”. I’m really liking this “band”ing together theme of community involvement!
I think that most of us want the same thing. We want to feel safe, healthy and secure. If we all worked together we could make that a reality.
I like how you get in their heads and humanize both sides. I would think kindness would flow more freely if we did this more often 🙂
I have to remind myself that just because someone is on a different side of an issue or a police line does not mean they are not people.
Extremely powerful writing. I believe we do this “us and them” frequently, not only in such volatile circumstances. This has really made me think.
I used to (and sometime still am) really bad about the “us vs. them”. It is hard to think of someone kindly who has a total different idea about something than I do. But it is something I am working on.
Thought provoking and well written. Great entry!
This was terse, tense and at its core kind.
Really tough balance, nicely done!
I love the second person POV–not easy to pull off, but you’ve done a great job with it. I agree with LaTonya’s comment, too. This is fierce, and yet there’s compassion and yearning and persuasion too. Who could not want what the narrator wants?
Love how the initial accusations (soulless robot…) are undone by the narrator’s own questions.
Great, forceful writing. I think you just kicked butt.
So good on so many levels, such humanness in your words and a life that speaks to me especially since I honestly feel like this so often.
That life is about us ‘seeing one another’
Thank you for the reminder, your beautiful words and for linking this week
I like how different this entry is, and the social commentary that it indirectly is. I especially like the “humanness” of paragraph 7. Nicely done