I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
-Fannie Lou Hammer
Sadly, we are forced to witness another public shooting of an unarmed Black male by a white policeman. More silence from the President. More political spin from his supporters and cult. Still, the carnage continues.
Even in the old “lawless” West, shooting a man in the back was considered cowardly and despicable. Yet today, some of our police are being lauded as defenders of law and order even as they shoot unarmed men in the back. Not only are Black lives trivialized, but we are de-legitimizing the value of all human lives. Sadly, reality is being conflated with theatrical productions and violent video games. However, unlike in movies and with zombies, those murdered in real life cannot not be rebooted to play in another game or star in another film.
Still, too many white Americans view the Black man as the evil zombie in a game of life and death. White Americans are being desensitized and manipulated. The bully pulpit of the POTUS is silent, save for dog whistles suggesting that there are “good people on both sides.”
Let us be clear: Donald J. Trump does not give a rat’s ass about anybody but himself and his self-aggrandizement. We are all pawns in his pathological game of divide and conquer. What is the secret to Trump’s success in duping the masses? Are our white brothers and sisters feeling threatened by our demand for full citizenship and human rights? Rest assured, most Blacks cannot afford to invade the suburbs. And those of us who can afford the suburban life are already your neighbors.
The conflict is not between socialism and social order. Rather, the issue is between fascism and democracy. We have an aspiring fascist in the White House who is methodically laying the foundation for total control of our lives. While Trump is the face of this drift toward fascism, worse are the opportunists who are benefitting monetarily and politically from his power grab.
To watch intelligent and well-meaning Americans being duped by a con man is frightening. To see a country that positions itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy become a template for tyrants and dictators across the globe is disheartening. How in the hell can we applaud the protests in Hong Kong, the Arab Spring and the struggle of ethnic minorities in China, yet deride the legitimate protests of our long-suffering Black citizens?
We were aghast at live video streaming of the barbaric beheading of Daniel Pearl. But where is the outrage when you see a man shot in the back with his children watching? Is barbarism only an issue outside of our shore? We pontificate to other countries about their human rights violations while remaining silent about the ongoing violations of the human rights of our own Black citizens.
As we wrestle with the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, the current administration’s response to both has been inadequate. Why fuel the flames of division? Why reinforce the stereotypes of racism that have become imbedded as facts in the minds of too many white Americans? Why push our country toward a race war, just to win an election?
We have an opportunity to bend the arc of the universe toward justice. Or we can wallow in the putrid mud of racism and write a history that will cause future generations to ask where the hell were the good people? History will judge Donald J. Trump. God will judge us, living today, as either part of the solution or part of the problem.