Just A Fleeting Moment In Time.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) The death of George Floyd at the hands of four uniformed officers in Minneapolis in May, 2020 unleashed protests throughout the US and around the world. The protests denounced George Floyd’s death, proclaimed that Black lives mattered and called for an end to police criminality and lawlessness.

Both the size and intensity of the protest as well as the diversity of the protesters compelled some pundits, talking heads and others to wonder if things would be different this time? That the unquestionable brutality, savagery and torture captured in an eight minute 46 second video would finally force the US to confront its long and ugly history of police brutality and injustice against Blacks and other people of color.

Black Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, and White Americans: Just A Fleeting Moment In Time.

That perhaps Americans, in particular White Americans, would finally look deep into their soul as well as the nation’s history in a great national reckoning. That just maybe this time George Floyd’s name would be the last name on a long, too long list of Black men and women who had their lives stuffed out in senseless, brutal, state sanctioned Black murders at the hands of police personnel.

People were forced to question whether this moment of national and international outrage would lead to an acknowledgement and exorcism of America’s unholy soul. Would this time be finally different?

Despite the hopes and desires of many that the time would be different it was not. Their dreams were once again deferred. Like a raisin in the sun they were made to feel lifeless again.

One of the more amazing and surprising elements that came out of the killing of George Floyd was the number of people who watched the eight minute 46 second video. The very notion that so many people actually watched the video gave hope that it would lead to change. That the soul of America would finally break free from its chains of racism and inhumanity and seek atonement.

Millions in the US and around the world did watch the video that captured the torture and death of George Floyd. However, that was because there was nothing else on television to watch.
The summer of 2020 found the US and the world in the grip of Covid. The US and the world basically shutdown and closed up.
There was no major league baseball, no NBA or other sports to follow. No political rallies or other events to watch. The only news was Covid.

For a significant number of Americans with their toddler attention spans after a couple of days Covid was already old and boring. Their limited and waning interest of Covid remained only the count, the death count.

How high would it go? Without sports and with the stock market like so many other things in involuntary recess the death count gave them momentary interest.

If the brutal killing of George Floyd would have taken place at a time other than Covid it is quite conceivable that it would have been viewed by significantly less people. There is nothing being suggested that race would have played a role in the amount of attention that the video received. But who we are and the distractions that we seek which prevent us from seeing what perhaps we should and perhaps need to see.

At that moment in time due to Covid there was nothing else to see and so we watched the video of the execution of George Floyd. What is also interesting about the video is that although millions watched it there were millions who watched and yet were unable to see what was so clear to others. Perhaps they were unable to see what others saw because they were too busy looking for the invisible gun. Too busy looking for imaginary drugs. Too busy looking for the video that preceded the eight minute 46 second video of George Floyd committing a crime or engaging in some other nefarious activity. Activity that would justify him having his hands tied behind his back as he lay prone on a sidewalk while a demonic creature held their knee on George Floyd’s neck until he took his final breath.

It was understandable that those who hoped that due to the amount of attention given to the murder that indeed things this time would be different. Unfortunately, it was a misread of the moment and also America.

Instead of a sincere, heartfelt and enlightening discourse of America’s torture, sinful history of inhumanity and crime against humanity, brutality, savagery, heartlessness and just plain evilness, forces inside the US went to work from the outset to try and prevent a sincere and enlightened reckoning. The backlash to what was being called the Black Lives Matter movement was intense and quite successful.

Not only did these reactionary forces basically stop the movement before it could take a few baby steps, they unleashed their own counter movement that proved far more successful than the Black Lives Matter movement.

The reactionary counter movement effectively lobbied state legislatures to ensure there would not be any police and criminals justice reform. They also worked to make sure state legislatures enacted laws that put obstacles, restraints and restrictions that they hoped would make it more difficult for Blacks and other people of color to vote.

Instead of a Great Reckoning, Blacks, other people of color and their allies were now witnessing a Second Post-Reconstruction period. What started out as a desire for true and honest discussion of race in America was shut down by a reactionary movement that would seek the banning of books and the enactment of laws which would prohibit the teaching of America’s racist and evil history.

Federal legislation named in recognition that George Floyd was a man, his life matter and his death was barbaric stalled in Congress due to partisan politics and unrepentant racism. Legislation measures similar to the federal measure were introduced in several states however they experience a similar fate as the federal legislation. Police unions and others opposed to real police reform and accountability were able to muddle discussion with the red herring issue of defunding police.

The idea of defunding the police originated with sincere and well intended people. People who walked around in ivy towers. Who wore $1,000 plus dresses and suits with their $1,000 plus pumps and wingtips as they sipped their drink of choice at cocktail parties before they headed home to their gated communities.

However, people who lived in communities where crime and gun deaths were escalating didn’t see it quite the same. They understand all too well that the police were a hostile occupation force filled with racists, psychopaths and criminals. Yet they were not interested in getting rid of all police, just the bad ones, which unfortunately there were a lot.

Political commentators, pundits and other talking heads who are paid to stir the pot as well as certain handkerchief heads, charlatans and political opportunists will make sure that Black voters in the 2024 presidential election are made aware that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris did not enact the George Floyd Justice in Police Act nor the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Unfortunately, President Biden and Vice President Harris inherit a Congress with a cabal of Republican anarchists, malcontents, ruffians, con artists and miscreants. They have done everything in their power to bring down the Biden/Harris administration even if it meant that the nation and its people would be harmed. He also inherited a couple of members of his own party who probably should have returned every cent they got over the years from the Democratic party and joined their friends in the Republican party.

Even in states with Democratic majorities there was a failure to enact meaningful legislative measures which would have led to systemic and transformational change the way police and prosecutors conduct themselves. Legislative measures to hold police accountability. Measures such as allowing for civilian community review boards with subpoena power, full public transparency of internal affairs records, and the end of the practice of qualified immunity which shields officers from liability for even the most egregious acts.

Unfortunately, when the history of this moment is written by future historians they will be forced to write that those who were most committed to transformative police and criminal justice reform did not agitate, organize, mobilize, push and lobby hard enough and long enough for change.

They will be forced to write for a day they marched and then basically vanished. For a day they were in the streets and the next day they were gone. Protests that seemed everywhere overnight became invisible. The raging anger that filled the air eventually vaporized.

They voted, they expressed anger, they marched and protested and then they went back home and took a nap, a long nap. They failed to keep the metal to the petal.

Black Lives Matter got outplayed by the extreme right and the racists. It also didn’t help that a tiny handful in the movement decided to profit off of the blood of George Floyd.

The injustice, inhumanity, violence, discrimination, hate, racism and just pure evil directed at Blacks cannot, must not be forgotten or dismissed. To do so would be worse than the injustice and evil itself. At the same time, elements of backlash and reaction to Blacks, Latinx and other people of color has not subsided but intensified.

What was thought and hoped would be a new day of justice and humanity in the US turned out to be just a fleeting moment in time. George Floyd who was a man, a man whose life mattered, a man who should not have died as he did and whose life desired justice died in vain. His life and death was made a hashtag. He deserved better than that.

Staff Writer; Al Alatunji

Question? Comment? Regarding the above article. Feel free to send a message to this address: Alatunji@ThyBlackMan.com.