It’s cheesy, but what if I told you I am always looking for a silver lining and I discovered one in COVID? I was hoping to get into something lighter than COVID for this article, but if doing what I do has taught me anything, it’s to go where I’m drawn—to go where I feel I can help.
I’m grateful the tragedy of George Floyd has taken place during the pandemic. Otherwise, we may have just scrolled on to some sporting event, click-bait, or whatever else we numb ourselves with. If you think I’m wrong, how many other “George Floyds” have there been? I’m talking about recent history, not the turbulent 60’s or even Rodney King nearly three decades ago in 1992. Why is Mr. Floyd any different?
It is my belief and my sincere hope that Mr. Floyd becomes the ultimate healer in this situation. If this were the movies, as we wish it were, he’d be the “chosen one.” After all, what is a basic definition of a healer but a catalyst for change? Much remains to be seen about how that works out, but this feels different than other similar incidents that happen far too often and I’ll tell you why. More people that don’t look like George Floyd are standing up and being heard. The only way it’s going to be different is when the super-star white athletes like Carson Wentz and Tom Brady lend their names and likenesses to a cause we’d all like to think will just go away.
I am heartened to see that Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are weighing in on this. I’m a fan of these global icons, but in terms of activism, Muhammad Ali they haven’t been. It’s never too late and perhaps now provides the opportunity of Divine timing. In all fairness, not everyone, regardless of race, have it within them to be a Mandela.
I want to point out and ask a few things of Lowcountry Weekly and Wholly Holistics readers: First, please don’t allow yourself to be shut down or confused by flip statements like, “America! Love it or leave it.” To that I would say, to love it is to embrace change that will make our country a better place for us all. If you’re not interested in that, I would say that you’re the one who needs to leave.
Next, I ask you all to stay focused on the particulars of this issue. In several of my articles on various subjects, I’ve stated that the creator of stats can make them say what they want them to say. Don’t get distracted when you hear things like, “more white people are killed by police than black people.” Is this statistic true? Of course it’s true, but in the United States, there are more white people than black people, so you tell me how that truth can twist us away from the issue. Or, “What about all those blacks killing other blacks in inner cities like Chicago?” A tragic issue, no doubt, but not this issue.
Perhaps our law enforcement needs more training? I happen to agree with this to a certain point. As with any group, most people within the group are on the up and up and care about what they do. No doubt, most people in law enforcement want to disavow themselves from what happened and are disgusted by what these “men” did to the uniform they proudly wear every day. Some countries in Europe require a year or two of training before giving a person the power of a badge—the power to take away someone’s freedom and in, hopefully, rare scenarios, take away someone’s life. That begs the question: Can we legislate cruelty out of people? Of course not, but this is obviously a systemic issue. I say that because, the “officer” with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck apparently had previous disciplinary marks on his record.
I feel an important question to ask is how many people are protesting versus rioting? It’s so easy to say this travesty happens and look what they do because we’re only shown a broad stroke—a ten second clip of a few people vandalizing and committing larceny. You can’t reason with people like them. Well, who is they and them? I’ll grant you I get my news from ESPN most of the time. This period of time has only reinforced my preference for what media outlets to consume and I’ll tell you why. All the ESPN outlets spent the day Monday addressing this fundamental human rights issue. Where is the investigative journalism in finding out who they are? What I mean by that is how many people are rioting? I would say it’s a small percentage of people rioting rather than protesting. Not having lived in an inner city and not having lived through times like 1968, I could be off base by saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway: I submit that if you think that protesting by rioting is doing a service to the memory of George Floyd, and others like him, you are misguided, so please reconsider. Why is rioting highlighted over the black NFL players in Tampa Bay that went out to help clean up the looting? Don’t even get me started on if some of these “rioters” are nothing more than opportunists, anarchists, and pot stirrers, ‘cause I said we need to focus. I know I can be conspiracy-minded sometimes…
And I don’t want to hear about underlying causes that may have led to his death. So what if George Floyd had underlying medical conditions? Most people walking around have some sort of ticking time bomb within them waiting for the right conditions to light a fuse. It’s called being mortal and I doubt the fittest person on the planet would have survived what George Floyd didn’t survive.
In the end, we all must do what we would want done for ourselves in whatever way we feel led. Perhaps it’s writing an article, perhaps it’s going to a rally, perhaps it’s disassociating from those that perpetuate certain things. I just read something so eloquently stated by a Facebook friend that I’ll paraphrase: Perhaps it’s not your fight, but maybe you fight anyway so that one day, that person may want to fight for you. Anything to show you care for your fellow man, no matter how small, helps. Hopefully, if COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all in this together.