It’s hard for me to fathom what is happening in the United States right now. I’m watching The New York Times updating at intervals as people violently react to George Floyd’s murder by cop. After I wrote yesterday’s post, I read about what happened in Floyd’s case. Prior to that, I had only seen the horrifying pictures of him slammed to the ground, hands cuffed behind him, begging for his life as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck.
Chauvin’s knee remained on the helpless man’s neck for about eight minutes, causing him to die at age 46. Three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, were also at the scene. All four have been fired, and prosecutors are trying to determine whether or not to prosecute them.
I read that Mr. Floyd was arrested for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. He lost his life over an allegedly fake $20 bill. Guys like Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who shot up Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 and killed nine innocent black people who simply wanted to worship, sit in prison awaiting death sentences that will take years to come. Meanwhile, George Floyd, who was never even convicted of the crime for which he was being arrested, dies at the scene of his arrest. George Floyd, who was known as a talented athlete and a “gentle giant”, was treated worse than an animal in the last minutes of his life.
People are understandably outraged. A police precinct in Minneapolis has been set on fire. Stores are being looted by angry people. Politicians struggle to do damage control. I’m sure some of them are as outraged as the public is, but the cynical side of me believes that they also want to be on the right side of history… and by right, I mean correct. Because right now, the “right” side of American politics is pretty ghastly. As the United States falls further and further into disrepute, Trump stokes the fires by saying things like “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” and calling the protesters “thugs”.
I read this morning that Trump also retweeted a reprehensible comment by a group called “Cowboys for Trump”, who said that “a good Democrat is a dead one.” Trump thanked this group, as its leader, Couy Griffin clarified that he meant Democrats should only die in a “political sense”. But then, in an interview, Griffin basically accused Democratic governors Ralph Northam of Virginia and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan of treason and said they should suffer the punishment that comes with treason. The punishment for treason is historically death, either by firing squad or hanging.
Meanwhile, anti-lockdown protesters in Kentucky hung an effigy of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear from a tree. The effigy bore a likeness to Beshear, as well as the slogan “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, which means “Thus always to tyrants”. That slogan is well known in history, as it was shouted by John Wilkes Booth in Ford Theater as he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.
Sitting here in Germany, I feel pretty insulated from all that is happening. The coronavirus, while still a threat here, has been fairly well contained. People are cooperating with social distancing and mask wearing and any protests have been peaceful and relatively quiet. I don’t have to watch the news, since I don’t have local TV. I see what’s happening on social media and read about it in the news… I see photos and read comments from my friends who live in the United States. But from here, it just looks like a horror show from which I’m far removed, even though that’s my country that’s falling apart, and Donald Trump seems ever more hellbent on destroying it by signing new rules attempting to control social media from fact checking his continually ridiculous comments.
As awful as I thought it was when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, I never had a clue that it could get so bad so fast. I never thought I’d see the country go down in flames the way it has been, especially this year. And yet, people still champion him. I just don’t know what will happen if he wins in November. I genuinely fear that he will destroy the country. In fact, maybe he already has destroyed it. Do people not see that Trump is trying to act very much like a dictator? Emboldened by the fact that he survived impeachment, Trump is becoming more and more unhinged… and nothing is being done about it.
It really makes me scared and depressed. I worry about the future. Trump has made America hate again. He encourages people to protest against their state governments. He cheers on racism and white supremacy. He excuses his abuse of woman as “locker room talk” as he brags about sexually harassing them. And people still think he’s just awesome. What does he have to do before people open their eyes and see him for the vile person he is?
It’s just so incredibly sad…
Meanwhile, yesterday I decided to prune my social media list. Most of the people I deleted were people I either don’t talk to or have already deactivated their accounts. However, I did decide to unfriend one guy who posts almost nothing but political screeds against Trump or angry posts about an ex who left him in 1985. I’ve never met the guy, nor does he ever post on my stuff. I do have a friend, though, who decided to unfriend him because he had been inappropriate. She wrote that after she unfriended him he sent her a message basically chastising her for “kicking him in the teeth.”
Minutes after I did my pruning, he sent me a private message apologizing if it was “something he said.” I explained that I needed to avoid negative political posts for my mental health. His response was “I won’t bother you anymore. Goodbye.” Then, he blocked me. I guess he wasn’t really a friend, after all. A real friend would want me to preserve my mental health, right? Well… he’s still got over 1200 people who haven’t unfriended him yet. I’m sure he’ll still get his supply from them. What a nut!