Donald Trump hates protests because most of them are about him and his fascist agenda. However, the current marching in our city’s streets is about much more. It’s about how one group of people have been ignored and mistreated for 244 years. It’s about the violation of their Constitutional rights.
George Floyd did not have to die in the streets of Minneapolis. The crime for which he was accused did not involve violence on his part, and if he was guilty, it was more laughable than criminal. He was murdered by a racist cop while three others stood by and did nothing. For the black community this was the “last straw.” How do you teach your children that they must act differently than whites if approached by a member of law enforcement? Why should you have to?
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 50’s and 60’s was a great experience. Of course I was white and trusted the cops. After all, the slogan on their black and white cars was “to protect and serve.” I believed they believed in that slogan. Then in 1962 I left Catholic school and attended Venice High School for my last two years; the only two years when I received an education, information about more than what I learned from books alone.
In 1962, Venice HIgh was a school attended by a diverse population of young men and women. My true love was basketball, and because of that fact some of my closest friends were black. As we began to know each other, the subject of living in a black vs white neighborhood arose.
One of the young men said, “and the damn cops.” I was surprised and asked him what he meant. He said, “they’re always harassing us.” Then they told me even more horrific stories about beatings, and one instance when a young man they knew had been shot and killed. I was appalled. It came to me suddenly: two Americas existed where the term ‘justice’ had two different meanings. I was white and living in one, and my black friends lived in a darker, for dangerous nation.
Our entire system must be rebuilt. After that day I not only learned that my black friends faced obstacles I did not, I read the papers and realized that the wealthy received preferential treatment over the poor in a court of law. My trust in law enforcement at all levels had disappeared.
My point is, none of this is new if you are non-white. The only difference is how the world of electronics changed what we know. This makes it worse in some ways. Although most members of law enforcement are now required to wear body cams, what we learned is that members of law enforcement are seldom punished for their crimes against black men and women, regardless of overwhelming visual evidence.
As it always does, during the current worldwide protests, the mainstream media is focusing on a small number of young men and women who chose to commit violent acts. However, the internet has found many inspiring and uplifting stories which reveal the true spirit of America,
In Flint, Michigan, a city which has been abused and neglected by Republican leadership for the last six years, black men and women took to the streets to protest injustice for themselves and their race. There were no confrontations between law enforcement and the marchers. In fact, something amazing occurred.
Chris Swanson is the Sheriff of Genesee County, Michigan. “The only reason we’re here is to make sure that you got a voice — that’s it,” Swanson said in video clips shown on Twitter.
“These cops love you — that cop over there hugs people,” he said, pointing to an officer.
“Let’s go, let’s go,” Swanson said as he and the cheering crowd proceeded. “Where do you want to walk? We’ll walk all night.” And Swanson marched along with the citizens of Flint.
For the last four months real Americans have suffered through the worst presidential administration in history. As the leader of white supremacists in America, Trump will do nothing to reform the justice system. He has taken the opposite approach and is condemning Americans for expressing their first amendment rights and voicing their grievances to their local, state, and federal elected officials. Trump went so far as to deny those rights in Washington and he ordered a crowd outside of the White House to be dispersed so he could have a photo op.
Real change is mandatory. Your vote on November 3rd is mandatory. Let’s join together and take our country back.
Op-ed by James Turnage
My eight novels are available on Amazon