As I write, there are demonstrations and riots in Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Washington DC and many other major American cities.
While I was watching one of the Sunday news shows this morning, one of the commentators said that we are witnessing the “best and worst of America.” Well the worst is winning. Less than a 20 minute drive from my home is Center City Philadelphia. Last night, looters set fires to buildings, destroyed stores, stole merchandise and rampaged almost without any confrontation. I recognized the streets and many of the stores where all this occurred. While there have been some issues between the Philadelphia police and the community, it has never been bad enough that one would expect to see the business district destroyed and in flames.
Robert O’Brien, the clueless and current National Security Advisor said that there is “no systemic racism in law enforcement.” Doesn’t take too much to figure out why there is so much hatred and violence towards police and authority this weekend. It was reported that President Trump had to be taken to an underground bunker during the demonstrations held outside the White House. It’s pretty apparent that the police and the National Guard are not effective deterrents against the rioting and looting that are occurring now.
It has been suggested that the other three policeman involved in the murder of George Floyd be arrested and charged with murder. The expectation is that this will satisfy many of the protesters and that there will be civil peace as a result of that decision. I’m not so sure. I sense that there is more to the anger and frustration of the crowd other than the death of George Floyd.
Many people have been sequestered in their homes for the past two months. Many have lost their jobs or they are on temporary furlough. The unemployed may be experiencing issues on how to pay their rents or mortgages. They may also be experiencing problems on feeding their families. Maybe they also realized that the “American Dream” is not going to happen for them. Bad enough that they are not going to be able to afford the luxuries and items that are being constantly marketed on television, social media and other outlets but that some are going to be hassled by the authorities due to the color of their skin.
The country has no national voice – – it has no one currently in office to turn to. We have a president who people don’t listen to because he doesn’t speak for them or to them. With all due respect to Democrats, they are not exactly offering a national voice of reason either. I was impressed with the black female mayors of Washington DC and Atlanta, Georgia I heard this morning. They spoke with reason, compassion and authority.
I hope it’s not too late that reason re-enters our national conversation and that peace is restored. We have had riots and civil disturbances before. I remember so many in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However these disturbances seem more ominous. Figuratively the heads of the three police officers in Minneapolis may not need to be the only sacrifices to the crowd – –someone has to pay for the poor economy, the huge disparity in income, the failure to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and the obscene unemployment rate throughout the country. Maybe that is the first step or salve to heal the wounds of the country.