We grew up hearing that phrase all of the time. Nothing proves that more than what’s going on in the world right now. People are protesting and rioting all over America in the name of George Floyd. A few years from now, they will be talking about the year of the virus and riots, and no one will remember his name. They won’t remember what happened to him as a person. It will be about how bad things were over some guy getting killed by a cop and the injustice of it. The riots are destroying neighborhoods, businesses, and lives. The peaceful protests, which Mr. Floyd’s family called for, would make a more moving testament to his life. His brother said they were God-fearing people. Anyone who is, knows that rioting is not the answer. Martin Luther King Jr. did not take up a gun, did not loot, and did not condone violence and destruction. We have no problem remembering his name, do we? He knew that wasn’t the answer to turning people’s minds and hearts. He wanted to show the decency and intelligence of people who were treated as though they were anything but. The seeds of hatred were deeply planted and we needed to destroy that crop and start over with good, clean seeds planted with love and compassion. When I think of him, and those who stood with him, arms locked, heads held high with a touch of fear in their eyes knowing that bad things could happen to them, I also see the determination to keep on marching. I also remember that there have been others who led peaceful protests like Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and The Singing Revolution from 1986 to 1991. Even if the event did not immediately solve the problems, and people died standing up for what they believed, it got the world’s attention.
While I realize that I am probably preaching to the choir here, I believe those who are doing all of this damage used this tragic incident as an excuse to act out, to do harm. People are angry about the lockdowns, but this is taking things to an extreme. An opportunity came for them to push the envelope of civility to create chaos. In one respect, I am glad to see that the looters are every color under the sun, instead of blacks being condemned as the looters. I am tired of people of color being blamed for everything. It’s hard to convince people that you are so upset about someone dying that you were driven to steal a television. You had to throw bricks through that window. You had to set that police car on fire.
There were protesters who did this right. They wanted to draw attention to what happened to George Floyd and many others in the past. It was an outcry of injustice. It was a unified voice to be heard. These were the same people wearing masks for the most part too. These groups had members who are police officers themselves. Some were pastors, professionals, business owners, political figures, and a plethora of other occupations. There’s nothing a good cop hates more than a bad cop. They know they give them all a bad name and they lose respect and authority as a whole. Not a single, decent human being can condone what happened to Mr. Floyd. We all have something to be ashamed of.
If we can’t figure out why we can’t stop racism, it’s because even in our protests we forget to be unified. When I see people carry signs that say Black Lives Matter, I automatically want to cry out that yes, they do! But, why can’t we remember that all lives matter? We should always remember that no matter race, color, or creed, we all matter. From the baby in the womb to the elderly in nursing homes, and everyone in between, lives matter. If this virus showed us anything, the fear it invoked in many of us at the thought of lying dying in a hospital alone, matters. In the atmosphere that this country finds itself in, we obviously have not progressed in the last 50 years. There was a part of me that believed we had. I couldn’t be more wrong. In general, we find ourselves to be an angry nation, very divided, and lacking common decency towards one another. It’s crossed our religious, political, sexual, and cultural lines. We do not see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ or in any other way. It makes it really heartbreaking for those of us who work towards that reality in lieu of what we witness daily. The struggle is real. The facts are hard to swallow. But until we face up to who we really are, what we believe, and how to make that change, nothing will come of it. We need to take responsibility for what we have done, what we should or shouldn’t do, and what role we play in the big picture. Each one of us, as an individual, needs to examine our heart and mind and recognize who we see in the mirror each day. Does this person hate? Does this person discriminate? Does this person agitate or promote these things in others? Does this person do anything to make a difference? We do need to be the change we see in the mirror because until we do that, we keep on perpetuating the state we are in now. And our children and their children will continue to do the same. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense and get real.