Ever since the nation, and eventually the world, watched in horror and disgust as another black man was murdered under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis, I have been trying to think of what to say. As people called for justice for George Floyd and other victims of police brutality, peaceful protests across the nation were eclipsed and tainted by violent and destructive rioting and looting. Police and military mobilized to control the chaos, and unfortunately innocent civilians are being caught up in the onslaught. Citizens of every age, race, and gender being assaulted with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets. As you watch the news, you can’t help but be moved and incensed by the scenes that go across your screen. Rubber bullets the size of a cell phone being shot directly at people, instead of being deflected by a ground shot as they were made to use. Tear gas bombs shot at people standing on their porches, at people helping others who are wounded in the streets. Flash grenades and tear gas deployed at people peacefully sitting in Lafayette Square at St. John’s Church in DC, all so that the President could have a photo opp in front of the church holding a Bible. When the reverend of that church and the diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington both call out the President for his behavior, that says something about how this is all a publicity stunt to him. He has never, and will never truly care about the people of the United States unless they’re giving him money. Period.
I feel enraged that the senseless taking of a life is yet again making the headlines because there are corrupt police out there, either committing the acts or standing idly by watching. How many lives have to be taken before government officials stop standing behind their governmental pulpits and start joining the ranks to protest these egregious misuses of power and privilege? We have already seen some police and political officials joining in the deafening call for a reformation of our Nation’s values, morals, and policies. When will the rest of our government join the cause? Why are police deploying bricks just prior to protest marches and suspected riots? When people see these things, they start to question and wonder who is really causing the social unrest.
When you hear or see the phrase, “Black lives matter,” it’s not a statement that their lives are worth more than anyone else’s, but a plea for people to recognize that people with a skin color haven’t had equal opportunity, representation, or respect in the USA for well over 400 years. As much as we like to think that we’ve progressed over the centuries, we haven’t moved forward much in the way we treat anyone who is not white. This goes for Native American, Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern ethnicities as well.
I also have to say that our “leadership” has been both a repugnant and divisive blight on our nation and this tumultuous time in our history. From his recent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to his blatant misuse and abuse of his presidential station, he has done nothing to help heal the divides that are continually widening in our country. Even more disturbing are the amount of followers who willingly condone and follow his behavior and actions, calling him a “regular guy.” I’m sorry, but if that is normal, I want nothing to do with being normal.
Lastly, even as videos of police brutality and questionable actions during the last few days arise on social media and the news, I also stand by the GOOD police and emergency responders. Those who are working day and night to keep the communities of our nation safe, who turn in and call out the bad seeds that are in their departments, and who stand with the communities that they serve and the calls for justice and unity. What we need now is a cohesive and concerted push from those who we elected to the highest offices in our nation to WORK with and support EVERYONE in the United States, no matter their race, color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political affiliation (or lack of), economic status, gender, or handicap.
I apologize if this reads as a rambling, erratic thought, but when I’m mad and hurting for our country, I type organically. I am blessed to live in an area that very rarely sees more than a few people holding signs near our post office or the police station. For the most part it is all peaceful, and frankly I want it to stay that way. I fear for my friends, family, and neighbors if it were to come to our town. I fear for our local businesses and our economy, because even though life trumps everything else, you can’t help but feel for those business owners who lost everything because of rioting, looting, and property destruction. Some of these people are marching right beside you, supporting you, hearing and seeing you. Respect, love, and peace y’all.