The overwhelmingly peaceful mass protests around the United States and the world are in response to the murder of George Floyd by a racist Minneapolis police officer.
That vicious killing serves to remind us that the United States is a nation with ideals of equality and justice that it has never quite lived up to.
In 2008, America finally elected a black president.
He materially improved the lives of millions through health care reform and did more to expand the social safety net and more to transfer wealth from the top downward than any president since Lyndon Johnson.
Yet a majority of white voters hated Barack Obama and petulantly rebelled by electing Donald Trump.
Being friends with Kanye West, name dropping Sen. Tim Scott and touting declining black unemployment — which, until the novel coronavirus pandemic, continued to drop after falling from 16 percent to 7 percent during Obama’s presidency — does not erase the fact that Donald Trump is our most racist president since Woodrow Wilson. This abominable, grotesque, sub-literate excuse for a president exploits the pain and suffering of so many, calling the people protesting George Floyd’s murder “thugs” and threatening state-sponsored violence upon those who protest state-sponsored violence, directly quoting Miami Police Chief Walter E. Headley by tweeting, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Let’s get this out of the way. Nobody is happy to see buildings burn, especially small businesses belonging to African American business owners who are themselves hurt by the white supremacy that is being rightfully protested against.
But the looters are a tiny number compared to the vast amount of peaceful protesters, and buildings can be rebuilt. They don’t matter more than the lives of George Floyd and Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin and many more who’ve died unjustly.
I’ll end with words from five time NBA championship winning San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“[Trump is] not just divisive. He’s a destroyer. To be in his presence makes you die. He will eat you alive for his own purposes. I’m appalled that we have a leader who can’t say ‘Black lives matter.’ That’s why he hides in the White House basement. He is a coward. He creates a situation and runs away like a grade-schooler. Actually, I think it’s best to ignore him. There is nothing he can do to make this better because of who he is: a deranged idiot.”