I suppose I should by now have written something about the killing of George Floyd. After all, I have opinions on seemingly everything else. The truth is I haven’t been able to. It feels, at least to me, that George Floyd’s killing represents a significant low point in America’s grim history of racism. No matter how many times I started an essay, my words just weren’t enough to describe my upset and distress. And the actions of President Trump have taken things to a new grim level.
When Trump was elected, like many others, I thought he was nothing more than an ignorant buffoon. More than that, an ignorant buffoon who would be generally benign and harmless. A wise friend said from the start of his presidency that his fears were far more profound and concerning. He saw shades of fascism right from the start, as Trump engaged in Goebbels levels of propaganda. His attacks on the mainstream media were in truth attacks on the free press, on journalists all over the world. Like Hitler – and yes, I really did say that – Trump is a rabble-rouser and he has rabble-roused his support base to line up behind his idle populism and bigotry. He was at it again today.
Trump has never addressed the American people as the country’s leader, to urge calm. On the contrary, with every intervention, Trump raises the temperature. He is playing politics, as the presidential election looms in the middle distance. He knows his support base. The lie that he is making ‘America great again’ is swallowed by millions of people. And black people are the enemy within. In World War Two, Hitler picked on a different enemy within. We all know what’s happening here.
What? Hitler? Are you serious? Yes, very. In his TV rant last night, where he announced to Americans that he would call in the military if the unrest did not stop. But he went much further. Trump reminded Americans, and I think you can work out for yourself which group of Americans, of the Second Amendment, the inalienable right for Americans to ‘bear arms’. This was not a man urging peace. This was a man upping the ante, making a huge, inflammatory statement. These are not the actions of a leader: they are the rantings of a tyrant.
The land of the free is, hopefully in the final days of the Trump presidency, heading for a dangerous political place. Trump may well be an ignorant buffoon but he is a clear and present danger. My feeling is that we does not actually want peace. He wants to exploit the social unrest. Americans, and indeed decent people everywhere, have a duty to stand up to Trump and to drag the land of the free back from the abyss.
Racism is alive and well, not just in America but throughout the world. We may not have our Trump, but we still have populist right wing rabble rousers like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. As fellow human beings, we should all feel scarred by the killing of George Floyd.
This isn’t my finest piece of work because I feel so upset by what has happened. I feel totally helpless, too. More than anything, I want love to triumph over hate. That requires good people to stand up and do good things and stand together against hate. We know what happens if good people stand by and do nothing.