My heart is broken. The sheer horror, pathos, dehumanization, and evil depicted in that video will never be erased from my mind. What is seen can not be unseen. I keep agonizing about what George Floyd’s last thoughts were.
He started his day breathing in the fresh air of Minnesota, running errands, saying hello to people on the streets, thinking about his children, his family, and his life in general. Whatever transpired in that store that day catapulted George into the deep dark abyss of America’s shameful and horrific racial epilogue.
What about those policemen? What in their collective psyches emboldened them to take such a course of action? In what universe did they think that snuffing out the life of a fellow human being was right on any level? Whether they had their knees on his neck and back or stood idly by and watched their “comrade” knee the life out of George’s body, they did NOTHING to stop it.
Being asphyxiated with one, two, three or four bodies on your back while handcuffed for NINE minutes is unconscionable. The fact that this was done in broad daylight with bystanders screaming for them to stop further demonstrates their callous disregard for human life. What did they see when they looked at George Floyd? Did they see a 46 year old man, with children and a family who loved him; did they see a man who was a valued member of a community he loved and who loved him back? No, they saw someone who to them had no value. By the very color of his skin he was as extinguishable as a cockroach, a gnat, or an annoying fly on the wall. Abuse of power and control corrupts.
The main perpetrator of this crime and George Floyd knew each other. They worked in the same club for over 17 years. Was this personal? Was this ego driven? A power trip? I’m not going to give any credence to what led up to the point George’s life was taken. It doesn’t matter, it’s not relevant.
The only relevant issue is how do we fix this 400 year history of systemic racism that can no longer be denied by those of us whose silence condones and reinforces its very existence? How can we ensure that African-Americans, Latinos, and other people of color are not racially profiled for simply driving, eating, walking, and bird watching while black?
To change attitudes, prejudices and entitlements seems daunting because we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. For the first time in the myriad examples of recent police shootings, the murder of George Floyd can not be whitewashed or explained away. Across the country, police leadership, governors, mayors, and John Q Public all agree this was murder at the hands of four policeman. Let the dialogue, anger, and resolve to effect meaningful change continue. We must all register to vote, research our potential and elected officials in order to ensure that their values and voting records align with the people they serve and then most importantly VOTE.
If you have any other ideas on how we can stem the tides of racism, unrest, discord and dissension we currently face in this country please let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your suggestions and share your ideas. I’m praying for us all.