14908641634_f9ed486b6c_z.jpgWe hope that Dragonfly's bravery (and the sergeant's too - I don't think hugging is in his riot protocol) is a help to everyone in this struggle. It is humbling that 4 million folks have seen the pic. Judging from the 7,000 comments, there are passionate calls for no more Michael Brown or Eric Garner tragedies. There are calls for the kind of Peace that the iconic hug helps us imagine.

Can we go all the way to reconciliation, to the forgiveness exampled to us in South Africa? A lot of us would say, "Now is not the time, now is the time for structural change." When we were there with the world's clergy on Oct 13th - "Moral Monday" - there was confession, forgiveness and redemption in the air. The ministers, nuns and rabbis were definitely militant, too, but theirs is a softer revolution than some would like. My own feeling is that we have to be disarming to emotions as well as guns.

There is a trick here that we would need to discuss with Dr. King... Presenting in the media a grandfatherly cop who undoubtedly has a family that fears for his safety, risks humanizing a white supremacist structure that can't be tolerated or cooperated with. Although it seems possible that in conversation in a trusting setting that this officer might even be, in some sense, "on our side." He looks to be close to retirement age, and who knows what's going through his mind here? He did a brave thing, with the wisdom of being older and unafraid, apparently, of official reprimand. 

You can see in some of the photos, a much younger cop, in his 30's staring at him with surprise. Let us hope that the 25 or 30 years this younger man will be on the force that he will remember this hug and be less afraid of the black majority of his town. (And have African-american police standing with him who help him become, truly, a "Peace Officer.") Did he learn something when Dragonfly physically contacted the "skirmish line" and the older man responded like an old friend? The struggle continues.