This week we reached the milestone of 100,000 covid deaths in America. Many of those deaths could have been prevented if we had better leadership! We also saw the senseless murder of another black man as other police officers stood by doing nothing when he told them he couldn’t breathe while one officer pinned him down with his knee. And shortly before that, a black woman was killed in her own bed as police broke into the wrong apartment. Another young man with a health condition was killed in Aurora earlier this year who did nothing wrong; I attended a vigil for that young man. It has become all too common, from Rodney King and before; yet rarely are the perpetrators held accountable. This while Mike Flynn walks free, a rich white man who admitted to his crimes and lying. We need a national policy, not just local practices, to train all police and even our elected officials on mediation and diversity.
It doesn’t help that we have a racist in the White House who incites behavior with his rhetoric. Subsequently, fired up in part by the pent-up angst of staying at home, and viewing the senseless murders, fueled by the inequalities and institutionalized racism, many young people took to the streets in protest on Thursday and throughout the weekend protesting our racial pandemic. Now in day 5.
Demonstrations were held in many cities, including outside the White House, mostly peaceful, but many ending in violent interactions with the police, looting and setting buildings and cars on fire. These protests have even reached over the ocean to Europe. Furthermore, news reporters were caught up in the protests as police pummeled them with rubber pellets, tear gas and arrests that we could watch live. We watched one CNN black reporter be handcuffed awhile another white reporter was treated much more civilly. I watched Saturday as peaceful protesters were pushed back by police in LA thrusting their big sticks into women’s belly’s as we watched in horror on television. One woman doubled over in pain. Was this brutality really necessary? To be fair, a few officers have joined in rallies in some cities marching along.
People are truly fed up! I am too, and I would also be protesting if it wasn’t so dangerous and I wasn’t too old to run if necessary! Time after time, promises are made that things will change, yet nothing changes. It also reminds me of the mass shootings, when nothing is done to change the gun laws either. Americans are tired of racism, lies, divisiveness, promises not kept, the rich getting richer while the middle class diminishes, people are going hungry and have no homes and so much more. It’s a tipping point. Is it time for a revolution again? Are we overdue for true change?
Last year was not the best year and many of us looked positively to turning the page on the calendar. Yet 2020 has proven to be one of the worst so far. Along with family facing serious medical conditions and hearing of many friends losing family members, we have faced the pandemic and been confined to our homes in fear. Many have died, many have lost work, go hungry, and face an uncertain future. Here is one article expounding on this issue: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/1968-and-2020-lessons-from-americas-worst-year-so-far/612415/ Yet none of us knew this year would bring pandemics of a health virus and an injustice virus.
So as with many other weeks, I am appalled, angered and disheartened by the new; some days I am even depressed. But I try to remain positive and hopeful looking for some humor, being outdoors more dining on the patio with friends, gardening, and spring cleaning. At times it is difficult to merge my idealistic views with reality. Being a baby boomer, I grew up in the time of the civil rights protests of the 60’s, the women’s rights movement of the 70’s, and have participated in many protests, the women’s marches, and much activism. I really wanted to help make the world more equitable, and to leave it better for my son and grandson but I don’t see that happening.
Unfortunately, I am discouraged that our hopes and dreams have not produced as much change as I’d like to see, but I am encouraged that youth are now becoming engaged in this effort. I hope they will also get out to vote! The past three years have seen our country go backwards when so much could have been done to help our planet and people. The Senate refuses to vote on legislation and slows our progress. My generation wanted to leave this world a better place, but instead it seems to be sliding the other direction. Did the ‘me generation’ go too far and forget others? Young people graduating face a bleak future of seeking work, paying off student loans, and wondering if they can afford a home and family.
Has the American dream been a farce? Clearly our history has been blotched with many dark moments from the beginning by our mistreatment of the Native Americans, followed by bringing slaves to do our work, the incarceration of Japanese people in the 1940’s, and the continual denigration of many racial groups, not to mention the more recent caging of Hispanic parents and children at the border.
The planets are aligned this year for a revolution…it is the same pattern in the skies as it was during our first revolution. Whether that happens or not, it is time for change. It is time for people to get engaged and to hold our electeds accountable, and to vote out those who continue to promote income inequality and who refuse to save our planet with new and better policies. Whether you are at a protest, or not you can still participate by calling and writing our legislators, by voting, and by donating to those who will make the changes we want to see. It’s up to us! We are the ones we have been waiting for.
“To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” ― Ella Wheeler Wilcox