Tag Archives: George Floyd

Trump sullies Good Book

“This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn’t read, in front of a church he doesn’t attend, invoking laws he doesn’t understand, against fellow Americans he sees as enemies, wielding a military he dodged serving, to protect power he gained via accepting foreign interference, exploiting fear and anger he loves to stoke, after failing to address a pandemic he was warned about, and building it all on a bed of constant lies and childish inanity.”

— Robert Hendrickson
Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Tucson, Ariz.

The comments attributed to Robert Hendrickson speak so well, so eloquently to one of my enduring frustrations.

It is that Donald Trump is able to persuade the enabling class of voters to whom he clings that he actually speaks their language, that he feels their pain, that he cares about them, their concerns, their loved ones.

He trooped over to the Episcopal church in Washington on Monday to stage a ridiculous, clumsy and laughable photo op. Millions of Americans — me included — saw it for what it was. Others, though, see it as some sort of demonstration that Donald Trump actually cares about them.

How else can I say this, other than to say simply: No. He doesn’t care. Not about you, or me, or anyone other than himself.

For this amoral/immoral imbecile to grasp a Bible — a book of which he has zero knowledge or understanding — and display it in such a fashion soils and sullies the holy and revered text it contains.

Disgraceful example of pandering

Words damn near fail me as I seek some understanding of what I witnessed Monday from the president of the United States of America.

Donald Trump delivered some chilling remarks about how he intends to deal with those who protest violently in response to the death of George Floyd, the man who died when Minneapolis police officers choked the life out of him. Trump vowed to bring the force of the U.S. military to bear on those who vandalize private property.

Then, trailing the advance guard of police officers in Washington, D.C., who cleared out some peaceful protesters near the White House, Trump traipsed over to John’s Episcopal Parish House that had been damaged in a riot the previous day. He was carrying a Bible, a book I am certain he hasn’t read.

He stood before the church — with its boarded-up windows and doors — and posed for pictures. He stood there for about 90 seconds brandishing the Holy Book, holding up over his head, staring down at it, looking oh, so solemn and somber.

The rector of the church, the Bishop Mariann Budde, called it a disgraceful display of political posturing. She said she is horrified that Donald Trump would use the church where she preaches as a political prop in that fashion.

Given the juxtaposition of Donald Trump’s message and his appearance at the historic church, I have to endorse Bishop Budde’s view that we all witnessed one of the most callous, callow and shallow displays of political pandering many of us have ever seen.

It was made even worse by the belief among  millions of us that Donald Trump — unquestionably the most amoral man ever to hold the office of president — has not a scintilla of understanding of just how Jesus Christ himself would view what the rest of us saw.

It was disgusting in the extreme.

Hoping for signs of healing

I want to see more of what we witnessed Monday night in Fort Worth, and in Santa Cruz, Calif., and in Portland, Ore.

I want to see police “taking a knee” as a show of anguish over the death of George Floyd a week ago in Minneapolis, Minn. I also want to see peaceful protesters recognize that demonstration in the moment and thank the officers for the good faith they are demonstrating.

It’s not at all clear to me whether there is any healing or reconciliation in store immediately in the aftermath of Floyd’s hideous death while being arrested by cops. The officers, four of whom were fired by the department, held Floyd down; one of the officers shoved his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck, choking the life out of him. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder and manslaughter; the three other officers stood by and watched — and to my eye they are complicit in Floyd’s ghastly death.

We are starting to hear from police officers around the country stand up for the rights of those who feel persecuted by law enforcement. They are telling us that what they witnessed in Minneapolis — just as what we all saw — was wrong.

They are speaking out and and they also are standing with the peaceful protesters.

Fort Worth police found themselves buried in the embrace of those who gathered to demonstrate against violence. Portland police were getting high-fives and hugs from those in that city who gathered to protest peacefully. The same thing happened in Santa Cruz. It’s happening in communities all across the land.

Is this the end of the story? It’s just the beginning of it. May it continue, though, with reason, rational discussion and restraint.

Still no outrage over police conduct

George Floyd’s death has sparked a national protest movement.

People are marching in streets calling for the police across the land to examine closely the practices they use to arrest and detain African-Americans. The concern is legitimate. Yes, many of these demonstrations have gotten out of hand.

Still, it is the “out of hand” element that has drawn the exclusive attention of Donald John Trump, who today made a public statement about the reaction to Floyd’s death while he was being arrested by Minneapolis police officers — for allegedly seeking to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

The cops killed Floyd. They snuffed the life out of him by using tactics that other officers acknowledge are not part of the training manual section that describes arrest techniques.

Donald Trump instead took dead aim at the more violent reaction to this hideous event. The Numbskull in Chief didn’t say a single word today about the conduct of the officers. He offered nothing in the way of acknowledgement that the officer who crushed Floyd’s windpipe with knee has been charged correctly with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Trump has appealed yet again to the darker instincts of a riled-up nation. He said governors need to get tough … or else. Trump said he will mobilize the military. He bellowed about being the “law and order” president.

My goodness. We need someone in the Oval Office who can appeal to our better angels, not to our darker impulses.

This guy makes me sick.

Pandemic response gives way to police brutality response

Donald Trump’s response to the global pandemic has been chronicled thoroughly as a disaster, pure and simple.

Trump fluffed the initial response by dawdling and dismissing the COVID-19 threat. Now look at the toll just in the U.S. of A. More than 100,000 dead; more than 1 million sickened. Trump keeps yapping that he’s done better than anyone else on Earth.

It’s crap, man!

Now comes the response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minn. A police officer choked Floyd to death by pushing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck. Three other officers stood by. They said nothing. They watched as Floyd cried out, calling for his mother, begging for his life. All four were fired immediately by the police department. The now-former cop who killed Floyd is charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

What has been Donald Trump’s response to the latest crisis to dominate media coverage? Has he called for a national conversation on the way police treat African-Americans? Has he said anything more than a perfunctory expression of sadness at the death of a man at the hands of rogue cops? No.

He has called for police to get tough. He said he is considering bringing the full weight of the military to bear in quelling the riots that have erupted in cities throughout the land. Think of that for just a moment … good grief!

Trump has castigated governors for being “weak” in their response to this crisis.

The nation needs someone who can speak with calm. With firm kindness. With an understanding of the cause of the crisis along with how to respond to it.

Donald Trump’s one-dimensional reaction to the national turmoil that has erupted provides just another example of how unsuited he is for the job he inherited.

Tough talk from … a coward

I am not inclined to use Donald Trump’s refusal to fight for his country during the Vietnam War against him. Yes, this blog has mentioned it on occasion, referring to the hypocrisy of the present-day tough talk juxtaposed with the “bone spurs” diagnosis he received to help defer him from being drafted into the military.

Trump’s excoriating of governors for not being tough enough against the rioters who have brought severe damage and destruction in reaction to George Floyd’s death just is too inviting a target to ignore.

Donald Trump needs a slap across the face for saying what he did about the governors. He called them “weak.” He implored them to “get tough” with those who take protest to the next, destructive level.

I remember, too, how his nincompoop — while campaigning for the presidency — lampooned cops for being too “nice” to criminal suspects. He implored them to rough up the suspects. It’s fair to suggest, then, that the four Minneapolis officers who are complicit in George Floyd’s death took the candidate’s advice quite literally.

So now the man who reportedly said he wasn’t so “stupid” that he would make himself available to serve his country in time of war implores elected governors to get tough on those who are angry at the conduct of rogue cops.


Fearing that police will be scarred needlessly

I feel the need to defend law enforcement officers.

It’s not that they need me to defend them. I do fear that the fallout from the George Floyd story well might scar police officers wrongly as protests keep turning into riots.

George Floyd’s death at the hands of a rogue cop has stunned the nation and the world. I got an email from a friend in Australia who expressed concern about the culture that produced the conduct that led to Floyd’s hideous death in Minneapolis. My friend is a learned man and I will accept his analysis as legitimate.

My concern rests with the universal police community that comprises men and women who do their jobs with diligence and honor every hour each day they go to work.

My career as a journalist put me in touch with many fine law enforcement officers over the course of nearly four decades. I respected all of them; I “liked” most of them, but not all. As a reporter and an editor, the cops and I occasionally would butt heads, which is more or less the nature of police/media relationships.

However, they were almost to a person individuals with the greatest integrity. I haven’t spoken to any of them since the Floyd story exploded, but I know what they would say. They would say they are horrified at what that Minneapolis did, that they cannot fathom “restraining” someone the way the cop did to Floyd, snuffing the life out of him over the span of nine minutes.

Legitimate protests are warranted if they are aimed exclusively at the police agency in question; in this case it’s the Minneapolis Police Department. Indeed, all law enforcement agencies are being handed an opportunity to examine closely their own policies regarding the detention of suspects.

What happened in Minneapolis is horrifying in the extreme. It doesn’t get easier to watch the video of George Floyd being confronted by the police and then plead for his life as it is slipping away under the cop’s knee pressed against the back of his neck.

I will not accept that what occurred nearly a week ago is standard operating procedure among all law enforcement agencies and among all the men and women who suit up every day to “protect and serve” the public.

They are ‘rioters,’ not ‘protesters’

For as long as we continue to discuss openly the reaction of those who damage others’ property and inflict more misery and mayhem in the name of justice, I am hereby making a pledge.

I no longer will refer to them as “protesters.” They are “rioters.” I might even toss in another epithet or two to describe the imbeciles who take to the streets in the manner we have witnessed in the wake of the George Floyd murder by the Minneapolis, Minn., cop.

A protester is one who exercises his or her rights of “peaceable” assembly.” It’s laid out in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A protester is one who follows the example set by the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached non-violent civil disobedience and urged those who followed him to do the same.

George Floyd died when a police office suffocated him. He pleaded with the officer to “please, please” remove the knee from back of his neck because, he said, “I can’t breathe.” He begged for his “mama” before losing consciousness … and then dying.

The officer who killed Floyd has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. There should be other charges leveled against the three other officers involved in this hideous incident.

As for the rioters, they do not do a single thing to advance the cause for which they ostensibly seek to bring to our national attention.

I believe the rest of us who are horrified at the sight of George Floyd’s life being snuffed out need to reserve large amounts of anger at the rioters who have usurped the attention from actual protesters whose voices need to be heard.

We need a president who cares

President Ronald Reagan consoled a nation shattered by the explosion of a space ship and the deaths of seven astronauts by telling us how they “had touched the face of God.”

President Barack Obama led a church congregation in a rendition of “Amazing Grace” after a gunman killed nine of their congregants in a senseless, hate-filled massacre.

President George W. Bush reminded us we would not go to “war with Islam,” but vowed to bring certain justice to the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.

Sen. Robert Kennedy, while running for president in 1968, stood on a flatbed truck and told an Indianapolis crowd that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot dead by an assassin … and then he quoted Aeschylus.

Donald Trump? His reaction to the global pandemic that has killed more than100,000 Americans has been to boast that it could have been greater had he not closed entry from China. He has chided Democratic governors. He has blasted the media for reporting “fake news.” And then he has told us in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of rogue cops that “when there’s looting there will be shooting.”

Oh, my.

We need a president who can rise to the level set forth in the role of consoler in chief. Donald Trump cannot — or will not — rise to that level. He is unable or unwilling to shed the politics of the moment and speak to the entire nation in the moment of grief.

I keep saying — and will continue saying it — that he is unfit for the office he is now seeking to retain. He shouldn’t have been elected in the first place. But he was. Many of us knew all along that if and when the moment presented itself — and it has with the pandemic and now the George Floyd matter — that Donald Trump would be unsuited for the task before him.

We wanted to be wrong. Sadly, this individual has proven us right.

Misery is spreading

Dallas erupted overnight in a spasm of violence related to the death nearly a week ago of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man suffocated by a rogue cop who snuffed the life out of him by placing his knee on the back of his neck for 8 or 9 minutes.

Businesses were damaged. People were injured. More victims emerged from the aftermath of the hideous incident in which the cop was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

It is everyone’s sincere hope that the violence will end. That we’ll start now to assess seriously the ongoing problem of police relations with communities of color. That police departments might take a long and sober look at whether their officers enforce the law differently when principals involved are ethnic or racial minorities.

The cops used tear gas on the Dallas protesters. Police Chief U. Renee Hall has justified the use of the gas. That’s her call and I won’t get into whether the PD was right or wrong.

Dallas was just one of many cities that erupted. Will there be more of it today, tonight and into the future?

Please! No!

I am officially mourning my country at this moment. We are battling that pandemic with shabby and shameful lack of leadership from the top of government chain of command. Now this! The top of that command chain, namely Donald Trump, has again acted with little demonstrable anger over what he surely has witnessed along with the rest of us … which is the sight of that cop killing George Floyd. Instead he has directed his anger at the angry mobs. I get that he’s angry about the damage being done; it angers me, too.

However, I want the president to look at the cause of that anger and to redirect his anger at the brutality that created this firestorm.

So it goes. My goodness. This madness must end.