Justice, Equality And Peace

It’s late morning on the third of June as I begin to type this essay. It’s not the essay that, up until June 2, I was planning on writing. That one will have to wait till next time. No, even though I’m not a particularly incisive observer of, nor commentator upon, societal and political matters, I feel compelled to lay down some thoughts about what’s been happening in my country (the USA), and in other parts of the globe as a result of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George Floyd, who was unarmed and handcuffed during the incident, was black. Chauvin, who has been fired from his job and charged with murder, is white.

Did anyone predict or expect that, in the wake of Floyd’s killing, hordes of people would take to the streets to denounce systemic racism and police brutality against blacks? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing not. Once put in motion, though, the protests expanded to locations far from Minneapolis. That includes Philadelphia, where I lived for decades, and which is very near to the town that my wife and I now call home.

I’ve watched television coverage of the marches and demonstrations, and of the violent turns that some of those gatherings took. The looting and property destruction that have taken place sadden and sicken me. Ongoing behavior such as that can deeply damage society, and can make conditions far worse than they already are. Fortunately, for the moment anyway, looting and destruction have lessened greatly, and peaceful protests continue.

Where will the protests lead? What will they result in? Will they result in anything, for that matter, or simply peter out as the energy and indignation that fuel them slowly evaporate? I hope that such will not be the case, because it’s undeniable that racism in the United States is alive and well, that many folks in this country don’t want equality-for-all to become an absolute given. The existence of white supremacy groups, and the continuing efforts by more than a few members of the Republican party to suppress the vote of minorities and of the marginalized, are two examples of this. The USA has a long way to go.

And what of the possibility that the protests explode into mayhem, uncontrollable violence, even civil war? I don’t discount this idea at all. Anything might happen, a frightening thought.

Barack Obama, in a level-headed and insightful essay about the Floyd tragedy, states what he believes should be the responses to it. Click here to read the piece. He urges us to vote out of office those elected officials with stone-age mentalities. And he focuses his exhortations on the young, who he says are the ones that must lead the efforts to make the world a better place. Here are a few of his thoughts: “The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.”

We can only hope that Obama’s way forward will prove to be the chosen path. His commentary, of course, would be lost on Donald Trump, who doesn’t care about the whys behind the reactions to Floyd’s death. That’s only to be expected from he who is callous, narcissistic, vindictive, a pathological liar and a thug. If Trump deploys federal troops, all bets are off.

At about 8:30 PM on June 2, I slipped outside to the deck at the rear of our house. Very unsettled by George Floyd’s death and the violence that partly filled its aftermath, I needed to decompress. That’s what happened as I stared at the dense foliage, listened to the birds and scanned the heavens.

Much of the sky was heavy with clouds, so almost no color emerged from the sunset. Bummer. But I was in luck anyway, because twenty minutes after I took my place on the deck I looked to the east and saw a vivid Moon rising, It seemed to have come from out of nowhere. Possibly it had been hidden by now-dispersed clouds. The Moon, as bright as a powerful LED light, was stunning. It made me feel somewhat hopeful.

As did Peace, a song recorded by the Ornette Coleman quartet in 1959. It played over the radio as I brushed my teeth two hours after Moon-watching. It wasn’t coincidental that WRTI, Temple University’s radio station, played this composition. That evening, the station was attempting to offer comfort to its listeners.

None of us knows with any degree of certainty where we are headed, but may justice and equality for all, and peace (it goes without saying), be intrinsic parts of the destination. And of the journey that takes us there.

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this essay)

128 thoughts on “Justice, Equality And Peace

  1. Brockelman June 25, 2020 / 8:15 pm

    “And what of the possibility that the protests explode into mayhem, uncontrollable violence, even civil war?” I don’t discount that possibility. And, it’s a concept that is stressing a lot of smart Americans who feel powerless against the administration’s propaganda machine and it’s placement of judges.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger June 25, 2020 / 10:27 pm

      Trump’s the worst. Devious and dangerous. He better be voted out of office in November.

      Like

  2. The Modern Uprising June 29, 2020 / 11:22 am

    I can always be certain that whenever my heart or head feels heavy, a long walk or a run through the park will make me feel better especially while in isolation. I love the positive outlook 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. myowncalcuttablog.com July 7, 2020 / 10:16 pm

    Well-written, Neil! Straight from the heart…and I too would see the moon rising and the song as signs of hope. Because where would we be without hope?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 8, 2020 / 7:42 am

      Hi, and thanks. It seems as though some meaningful changes in attitudes and policies have taken place and will take place. That’s the goal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. July 24, 2020 / 3:37 am

    Thank you for your words. I have always thought, why is it that humans need to experience such horror to actually care? And, is it just because they were all at home to tune in and watch? There has been so much of it. Where have they been? I have been aware of the escalating tensions in the US since I was a young child. I was saddened to find that only a handful of my friends liked my DNA, full of African heritage, when I shared it on Instagram last summer. I knew, from experiences it was going to be controversial, but was disappointed just the same. I am full of hope and optimism anyway. There are many of us who genuinely care about everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jeanleesworld July 24, 2020 / 7:38 am

    Powerful thoughts here, Neil. I know I’m talking to Past You, this post being over a month old, but I do think it is so, so very important to focus on the hope and the UPlift of all this, because when we run to the violence to “make a statement” we make the worst kinds of statements written with the pain of innocent people (Sorry–I still get wound up about those riots because several of my students’ homes were looted by rioters).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 24, 2020 / 10:22 am

      You’re right. Peaceful protests and activism must continue, in order to move our(or any) country in positive directions. Violence plays right into the hands of the many reactionary/bigoted people in the USA, such as Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

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