A horrific event that happens over and over and over and over again.
Of all the words I’ve made, this is the one I’ve reposted the most. As such, this essay is the one I’ve rewritten, edited, scooched, amended and adapted the most as well. Says something, doesn’t it?
You reach a point when you realize that life, history, and even the world itself are a long, arduous, gorgeously told tale of utterly stupid and entirely avoidable tragedies.
And the hardest part of that lesson is to know that we never seem to learn from it.
Santayana said we would repeat history if we don’t learn from it. But watching George Floyd die teaches me that history teaches us nothing more than how to watch the same cheap and wicked things more quickly, with greater efficacy, and from a greater distance. We learn how to recycle the same abuses, faster.
This week, we all watched a white police officer kneel on George Floyd’s throat until he died. Think about that. You watched a police officer murder your neighbor. George Floyd was murdered. And we watched.
George Floyd is just one of thousands of black men murdered with no cause – none – by members of an institution that in one breath assures it’s here for our protection, while it threatens and even takes life. Demeans and humiliates while demanding respect. Acts flagrantly, without cause or control while demanding obedience.
I believe in law, and justice, and the need for control.
Which is why I do not believe in the police.
George Floyd’s life mattered. But even more than that, George Floyd’s life was his. It was not someone else’s to take away.
His life didn’t (shouldn’t. doesn’t.) require my nor anyone else’s insistence to demonstrate its worth. His value as a person was (should have been. is.) self-evident.
George Floyd mattered. Black lives matter.
That white people – hi, I’m a white person – cannot bring themselves to understand and say and value that statement matters too. It makes us accessories. It means we share the guilt.