It’s Sunday morning and after a week of George Floyd’s murder by the police in Minneapolis and the ensuing protests and riots, I am exhausted. Mentally exhausted and emotionally spent.
I have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions and revelations concerning the circumstances of George Floyd’s murder. Not only that, but the response from the Minneapolis police, President Trump, and the news media seems to be surprise and disbelief at the level of anger and intensity of the response by the public. One thing is clear, the response on the streets have not just been Black Americans but an array of people with various ethnicities.
A series of statements that I heard from Cornel West, in my opinion, were on point. What we are seeing is the result of a failure of democracy in the United States. All of the failures have been exposed by the pandemic. They were already present but the extreme impact of the pandemic has laid bear the failures of the democratic experiment that is the democracy implemented in the United States.
We are witnessing America as a Failed State. We’ve seen the protest in other countries throughout the world and use various terms to describe them - an uprising against fascism, the demise of a dictatorial state, a reaction to pervasive corruption in a tiny island nation or an eastern European nation. Now life in America, for not only Black people but poor people in general, is being exposed to those in America that do not share this experience and every country in the world. We, as a nation, mistreat the poor and dispossessed. We subjugate and incarcerate those culturally disdained – the vast majority of Black folks. We are witnessing America as a Failed State.
Now as all of the people at the bottom of the economic ladder are home and out of work, we see in graphic detail the murder of an unarmed man on the streets of Minneapolis. We see him plead for his life as life drains from his body. We see him left on the street as he looses control of his bladder and bowels, as he stops breathing and has no pulse, we witness his lifeless body then carted away. The fact that the number and intensity of the protests appear to surprise authorities is itself evidence of a failed state. The institutions in place to serve the people have no idea that the people are at a breaking point. That the actions displayed by the state and municipalities towards Black and poor people over the years preceding has led to this convulsion of anger and unrest. This exists because the institutions and structure of the States and Federal Government has gone about serving itself, the wealthy, and large corporate entities. Thus for the vast majority of people in the United State, in particular Black people, the State has failed them and has not served their interest. Expect this unrest and protests to go on for as long as a year. People are out of work and out of money and they don’t have much to focus on except what has been lost.
I started today with the intention of developing a poem or prose to express my anger and disappointment with what I have experienced this week. But after listing the names of unarmed Black men and women killed by law enforcement officers since 1999, I have lost heart and my head. I am ready to go out to fight and burn and loot. Fortunately, I am no fool. I am old enough to understand that a better way to address this is to organize a definitive strategy to force the failed state to yield to the people and transform the economic system so that it supports the people not cooperate interest. Having said that, maybe I am a fool. Time will tell.
For all those Black men and women who are sitting somewhere safe at home with money saved and jobs to go to – I ask: What are you prepared to do? Now is the time when you have to look in the mirror and answer this question for yourself. You have knowledge, skill, ability and access to information that is vital to the success of this struggle. What are you prepared to do?
The Angry Man
We all know an angry man. It seems he always speaks with passion even when the words appear