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Under siege

rainey

“THEY COULDN’T EVEN STOP POLICE BRUTALITY
AT THE POLICE BRUTALITY PROTEST”

I found that piece of “sidewalk wisdom” on Facebook the other day. Strangely, I found the words apt descriptions for where we are,
not only in our sadly ruptured race relations but also of the state of our nation as a whole at this moment.

We are under siege by three crippling sources. A worldwide pandemic. The most out-of-control racial protests in our streets in my lifetime. A President acting like a pathetic dictator, incapable of compassion or selfless service while attempting to destroy the very governmental institutions that have served us well for more than two centuries.

Let’s take ‘em in order and add the condition that all – all – are occurring without the expected leadership from the top of our government.

The pandemic. It’s affecting the foundations of our society. Our future will not look like our past. It has brought out not only the best in us – think doctors, nurses, EMT’s – but it has concurrently exposed many of our weaknesses and societal divides.

In terms of our national ability to face COVID-19 head-on, by being medically and politically aggressive, initial warnings were ignored by the very people given the facts. It’s no stretch of truth that Trump’s failure to act on the coming pandemic information at hand in January-February may have cost 20-thousand dead Americans.

His destruction of the governmental agency, specifically created and staffed for such national peril, while refusing to accept and act on the medical intelligence at hand, put our national health professionals in a disastrous catch-up disadvantage. A dozen weeks into the fight, they’re still short of necessary equipment and other needed resources.

The racial violence in our streets. Though much of the violence and destruction has nothing to do with racial relations, the base – the core issue – is still there. Anyone who doesn’t understand the societal disadvantage of being Black in America is living on another planet. It’s real. Not just with law enforcement but the nation as a whole. Employment, housing, access to health care, educational opportunities, access to much of what the rest of us take for granted. All unavailable to many of our Black brothers and sisters. And they ARE our brothers and sisters!

The current outbursts in the streets must be heard – and understood – by agencies of governance, law enforcement, business communities, education leaders, health care professionals and politicians of all stripes. The underlying and very real pain being expressed is at a louder and more violent pitch than ever in my long lifetime.

To ignore it – to let it subside in futility as has happened so often in our national past – is to plant seeds for a much more violent and much louder demands down the road. That must not happen. Listen! Act!

Presidential failure to lead. Never, in our long national history, have we been more poorly served and seen such contempt for even the most basic rules of law and leadership as we have for the last three years. An accidental and immoral presidency has given voice – has given permission – for rejection of fact, outbursts of violence, intolerance for the rule of law and blind acceptance of lies passed off as facts.

The media talks of Trump’s “strategy” or Trump’s “plan” or Trumps “policies.” He has none of those. He rejects all of those to rely “on his gut.” A “gut” that’s been so tragically and destructively wrong all of his adult life. His “gut,” which has resulted in business failure after business failure – broken relationships after broken relationships – that lifetime behavior is what we’re seeing in the Oval Office now.

Trump’s unpredictable and destructive conduct of national affairs has laid waste to political relationships and accepted order. He’s destroyed faith in institutions of government for a large chunk of our citizenry and tragically ended the professional careers of dozens of extraordinarily talented professionals.

He’s flaunted his disrespect for laws and the constitutional demands on the presidency. He created a Cabinet of mostly donors and friends with implicit instructions to “gut” the very agencies they’ve been picked to oversee. Most are inexperienced and some have used their high office for self-enrichment.

Taken together, at this moment in time, these three calamities now disrupt much of our daily lives. One has killed more than 100-thousand of our families, friends and neighbors. It’s nearly broken our under-prepared institutions of health care, which have responded heroically in the face of personal danger. Its effects will likely change much of our society and certainly how we prepare for the next pandemic.

The angry violence in our streets is attempting to focus our national attention on grave, long-standing injustices in our society. Injustices we must end if we’re to ever truly become “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” We cannot – we must not – turn our backs on the tragic realities of Black life in America. We must act!

The third leg of our current calamities we can attempt to end at ballot boxes – or with mailed ballots – in November. Some of us feel it might not end with vote counting should Trump lose. He is not one to accept loss. There’s a real chance of confrontation and forced exit from the White House.

Between now and then, there will be more national indignities, more lies, more lawless conduct. More Trump.

Police brutality may be the easiest of the three to deal with. We’ll see.
 

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