News of disgraced Officer Chauvin’s guilty verdict broke this afternoon far quicker than I expected. I thought the deliberations would be drawn out so I was surprised when I looked up at the TV screen while eating lunch with my wife at a restaurant only to realize that ESPN was cutting away to announce the outcome of a jury’s deliberation that I thought would be drawn out for a couple of weeks. My immediate reaction was one of relief mixed with sadness for the family of George Floyd.
But after the initial emotions wore off, I was left with a numbing feeling that nothing has changed. While Democrats pretend that justice was delivered and Republicans are trying to figure out how to turn this ruling into a red meat to throw at their base, the festering issues of social and economic inequalities that are gashing all of us will continue to go unaddressed. Today’s celebration will quickly return to the status quo; we are so conditioned to focus on outrageous annulments of justice that we ignore the everyday injustices that indenture most Americans into a life of financial anxiety or outright privation.
Utter tragedy: The poorest Americans didn't even get stimulus. Some folks don't have work, so don't qualify for unemployment. If they have legal debts, they get low or no stimulus. They lose power, license to drive, their homes = endless circle of povertyhttps://t.co/yBEbSI0F2e
— Amazon Piss Jugs 🐬🌻 (@JeremyWard33) April 17, 2021
Chauvin is not an outlier but the norm of a system that condemns countless millions of Americans into a lifetime of destitution the minute they are born. At the bottom of this caste system are African-Americans, most of whom are treated as second-class citizens in a country they enriched with their blood, sweat and tears. It’s been more than a 160 years since “slaves” were emancipated; but for too many, the American dream continues to be a nightmare of poverty and unequal treatment.
The same systemic rot that eats away at the souls of “black” folks also craters the lives of countless millions of Americans without bias to their skin color. Sadly, we are so conditioned to understand these iniquities through the prism of our differences that we never realize the commonality of our afflictions. The root cause is a government that has been commandeered by the plutocracy and treats the rest of us as disposable assets. We have to understand police violence not through race alone but through a class-war that has been declared on the vast majority of humanity by the fractional few who hoard the riches of this world while the rest of us suffer.
Alas, we are so trained to seek justice through the lens of identities and ideologies that we overlook how all of us are being ramrodded by the ruling class. Politicians, pundits and media personalities latch on to race not with the intention of healing America’s “original sin” but to tear it open as a means of pitting one marginalized community against another. Police officers who disregard their oath to “protect and serve” are not unique in this way; most of us are guilty of serving a system that is pillaging humanity because we would rather overlook injustice if that means we get to keep our life of comfort.
While many are celebrating Officer Chauvin’s guilty verdict, in every city and most towns throughout America tent cities are proliferating. We tune in when there is a sensational story of abuse but we don’t pay attention while more and more of us are being turned into dust. We are a society beset by cognitive dissonance; like Thoreau once noted, we keep hacking at branches of evil while very few are willing to strike at its root. One minute we gnash our teeth and rage against the machine that is grounding us into mincemeat only to forget about it the minute media headlines disappear and we go about feeding the very beast that we pretend to be against.
Let’s be real, if there was not a snuff video of Officer Chauvin killing an unarmed man in cold blood, the reality is that most of us would have never heard of the George Floyd. It takes extreme measures to capture our attention yet the human tragedies that take place on a daily basis keep eluding our eyeballs. Even when these horrific incidents happen, instead of rallying around our common humanity, all too often we fall for shysters who convince us that we are each other’s enemies. This is why change never happens, we are deceived into believing that those who are struggling just like us are our foes while we overlook the same oppressive criminals who are lording over all of us.
Until we realize that all of us—irrespective of our skin shade or our precepts—are getting the raw end of a scheme that is transferring our livelihoods in order to enrich the neo-aristocracy, nothing will change. We can march and protest from here to Selma and back but the only thing we will get for our troubles are corns on our feet. May George Floyd rest in peace and his family find comfort in Derek Chauvin's verdict; as for the rest of us, it is time to stop nibbling at the catnip and instead unite so that another life is not lost needlessly. Click To Tweet
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” ~ Frederick Douglass
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