The Political Party Of George Floyd
Black Lives Matter would likely be the political party of many slain Black people
Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching in Australia this week in support of justice for George Floyd and anti-racism.
Millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe have had it. They are voting with their feet. In the street. With their voices. With their consciences. During a pandemic. People are risking life and limb in this kind of early voting.
The People are voting for justice for George Floyd.
They are casting a vote for justice in the names of a few of the many other Black people killed by police in the U.S. in the 2000s, including Breonna Taylor, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Shawn Reed, Alton Sterling, Stephon Clark, Terrence Crutcher, Jamar Clark, Philando Castille, Sean Bell, John Crawford III, Walter Scott, David McAtee, Botham Jean, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Charleena Lyles, Sandra Bland, Ramarley Graham, Patrick Dorismond and Eric Garner.
Most of these police executions of unarmed Black people in the United States were caught on cellphone video, grim transcripts of affirmed death.
Black Lives Matter, started by three Black women — Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi — is a movement that has now, unwittingly or not, become a de facto political party. Black Lives Matter is much more than a hashtag. Arguably, at this very moment in time Black Lives Matter is the most powerful political party on earth.
The party has many millions of members.
Political leaders around the globe and a member of the British Royal Family, Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex, has supported protesters and spoken about the torture and execution of George Floyd by four Minneapolis killer cops, who have finally been charged after ten days. (One of those killers, Derek Chauvin, the chief executioner and torturer, had 18 complaints against him in 19 years as a cop.)
Sadly, many of the most memorable people in BLM are no longer with us.
Their names are well-known, popular, chanted rhythmically and repeatedly as urgent, clear cries for justice, change and systemic overhaul. Supporters of this rapidly-growing political party are in the streets en masse and they are global. Canada, Denmark, the U.K., Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Germany, Holland are just a few of the countries where protests for justice for Mr. Floyd are occurring. In the U.S. the supporters are Black, Brown, white, Asian, Native and primarily under 50, many under 30, a younger generation-led, passionate and energetic contingent. A sizable cross-section of older people including Boomers at the front-end of the Baby Boom are a part of many protests. Last weekend some of those Boomers were being shoved to the ground by police, the very body, the very system those protesters were marching against.
The fight for justice is perpetual but this specific atrocity, this visceral violation of George Floyd’s humanity, is so clear, so repugnant, so grotesque and so in-your-face that to not raise your voice against it is tantamount to approving of it. This evil was so brutal and reprehensible. These murderers, especially Chauvin, with hands stuck in pockets and knee embedded deep into the carotid artery of Mr. Floyd, displayed casual nonchalance and arrogance of systemic whiteness, racism and murder. This was, like the desecration of Ahmaud Arbery, a lynching in broad daylight. A snuff film entitled “8:46”.
Eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
Let the record reflect that amount of time George Floyd lay prone on a concrete road in Minneapolis. He cried out for his mother, who passed away three years ago. Let the record reflect that George Floyd was handcuffed. Let the record reflect that Floyd begged Chauvin: “please don’t kill me!”
Let the record reflect that George Floyd pleaded “I can’t breathe!”
In repsonse, Chauvin told Floyd to “relax”.
Two of the other killer cops drove the full force of their weight down into their knees and deep into Floyd’s back, crushing and compressing his lungs. Let the record reflect that Chauvin’s full body weight and knee was embedded in Floyd’s neck for almost nine continuous, excruciating, insufferable minutes. By minute seven George Floyd was already dead. Still, none of that stopped Chauvin, who, told there was no pulse nonetheless kept his knee on Floyd’s cold neck.
The lynching of George Floyd is one of many reasons people all over the country and the planet are out on the streets in the millions.
A long hot summer lies ahead. Millions more people will march.
So many thousands of times over Black people have been killed by police in the United States and in many other countries and their families receive no justice whatsoever. The murderers walk. The murderers are not arrested. The murderers go home to their families, kiss their kids and go to sleep.
George Floyd’s family will never get to see him again.
On Memorial Day George Floyd went to sleep forever.
George Floyd. (Courtesy The Ben Crump Law Firm)
The Justice Vote Heard Round The World we have seen play out on our televisions over the last ten days is a moral, righteous vote that will sweep the pestilence that is Donald Trump out of the White House on November 3. Right now this overwhelming voter turnout for November-in-June is already sinking Trump in the biggest summer reality television show this malignant narcissist can’t handle. Trump is scared. He is panicked. He is clueless.
The only thing Donald Trump cares about is reelection. (He also cares about money and staying out of prison.) From masks to the military, Trump has politicized every single situation over the last three and a half years of his pollution of an already-divided America. So blatant is Trump’s bid to stay in the White House that when the early news about the coronavirus came to him last November via US intelligence agencies (the same agencies he trampled to support adversary Vladimir Putin) he ignored the warnings of a pandemic and let many of the 110,000 people (probably double or triple that number) in the U.S. die of COVID-19 through his non-action. A most Trump-like psychopathic and sociopathic form of vote stealing or voter suppression.
The looting of Black people’s votes and their lives is perpetual in the U.S. And this looting of Black bodies is unrepentantly systemic.
So far Donald Trump has failed at steering his reelection bid. At every turn he has succeeded in further destroying the country. Trump tried to oust Joe Biden from view with a less than perfect phone call last July to Ukraine president and former comedian Zelenskyy. Trump was impeached. Trump tried to get coronavirus to eliminate enough people from voting so he could gain an advantage. That failed. Trump had two hours of daily face time in useless, low-information campaign rallies that masqueraded as press briefings. Those failed when Trump suggested that people inject bleach and disinfectant into their bodies. Those campaign rallies ended abruptly like the screech of a needle on vinyl.
Trump has recently said that vote-by-mail is a rigged process even though he votes by mail.
No one except Trump’s supporters is buying the lying and gaslighting.
Trump’s latest trick is the law and order play, the Nixon strategy of 1968. That too has backfired, thanks to a deeply offensive staged photo-op, cultivated at the expense of hundreds of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters teargassed by military police and U.S. Park Police. With a failing economy, 43 million people or more unemployed, and a second Republican Great Depression (Hoover’s indifference during the last Depression cost him reelection in 1932), Trump is desperate.
Desperation makes Trump dangerous.
“What do you have to lose?”, Trump often says.
Especially if you are Black? Your life.
Trump’s relationship with police is one emphasizing racist attacks on Black people.
Police violence against Black people as well as violence by white people against Black people, is the major factor making Black Lives Matter necessary both as a refrain, as a call for justice and as an organization. In 1989 Trump took out an infamous full page ad in several national and local newspapers demanding more police on the streets of New York City and the death penalty for five innocent Black and Latino boys wrongly accused and convicted for a crime they did not commit. The ad was tantamount to a posted enslavement patrol notice from the 1800s offering a reward for the capture of a Black escapee. To this day Trump refuses to apologize, saying he believes the Exonerated Five are guilty of crimes against Trisha Meili, a white female jogger in Central Park. Never mind Matias Reyes.
The words of American journalist, poet, thinker and philosopher Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
In this current but hardly-inaugural season of unyielding numbers of white people across the U.S. policing Black people’s bodies with racist and unjustified phone calls to police, challenging their occupancy of spaces and their very existence. This has happened before cellphones, with Carolyn Bryant and Sarah Page decades before, and white women (and men) like Amy Cooper before and after that. There was Charles Stuart in the very same year that Trump’s full page of racism appeared in print. And not to be outdone, the racism of Susan Smith. They all tapped into the white-racism-is-as-American-as-apple-pie reality of how many white Americans subconsciously react to charges that Black people are acting in a criminal manner.
Today, many from a younger white generation are rejecting the racist garbage of their parents and grandparents and taking a stand. More of the white populace, particularly older white people at large, must follow suit. I believe that here in 2020 80 percent of the white community in the United States remains either racist or at best indifferent to the plight of Black people, including indifferent to George Floyd. I think that for a number of white individuals what happened to George Floyd probably registers a minuscule eyebrow-raise, if that. Some of these individuals blissfully return to their inane, loud cellphone conversation you can hear from a block away. Their world isn’t rocked. Some pose for Instagram photos and mock the seriousness of these protests by using justice as a trivial backdrop. Some white people are calling for killing protesters for justice for George King.
The privilege and indifference of white America at large (certainly the 65 percent of white men and 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump in 2016) chokes them, though they do not know it. This white privilege is toxic and the throughline from it to the atrocities of Derek Chauvin isn’t such a long way to travel. If one calls for killing protesters how far are they away from Derek Chauvin? How far away is a white person who remains silent in the face of such depraved police violence from Chauvin?
By the way, Joe Biden has had little to do these last few months. The pandemic had largely sidelined him. Until George Floyd. Black Lives Matter has now become Biden’s unofficial presidential campaign slogan. Biden must pick a Black woman as his vice presidential candidate. He must. There is too much pain in the U.S. for that not to occur. Too many Breonna Taylors. Biden has dues to pay to many, including Anita Hill, beyond any Black woman he may or may not pick. The decision on a vice presidential pick is scheduled to be announced in August.
When August comes Black Lives Matter will still be here because sadly, police killings of Black people will continue. They must end yesterday. Last week. Last century. Last millennium.
We have such a long way to go. But we must keep going in the pursuit of justice.
Black Lives Matter will echo beyond today. The current movement on these global streets must not yield. We must be in this for the long haul. To upend deadly systems. To bid a permanent goodbye to them. To devise a system that thrives on the success of all not the oppression of some.
We cannot afford to be silent. The world isn’t just watching. It is acting.
Silence is complicity.
Silence is violence.
Vote George Floyd 2020. Vote for justice. For all.