Tragedy and Change

George Floyd’s murder was preventable. I believe we can all agree to that. If you’ve already stopped reading, that’s okay, this message is not for you.

As much as his murder was preventable, there are systemic issues that are at play, that you yourself, are likely culpable. You might believe that the far left is crazy. You might believe that the far right is disconnected. If you believe both, you might fall somewhere in the middle where millions of Americans are. Is it the majority? Depends on how you look at it.

Then, there is the battle cry of the ideological far left, desperately demanding change. But wait, are they the only ones advocating for change? It’s actually a tug-of-war.

Here’s the thing – neither of these groups, or even you, will ever win this tug-of-war as-is. Since 1904, of voting-age Americans, voter turnout has never been more than 63% for the Presidential popular vote. Does this metric really mean anything? Not really, since the Electoral College is the one that determines the winner of the election. While defection of pledged votes remains rare, and any compact between states is overshadowed by “faithless elector” laws.

What? You don’t know about those things? Are you even still with me?

Educate yourself. Educate your neighbors. Accept nothing but the relentless pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. But definitely wisdom. You can know everything in the world, or at least think you do, and end up like Derek Chauvin, making a difficult call in a difficult job, in a difficult situation, the wrong way, and end up divorced. While you’re at it, don’t accept everything you hear as knowledge; carefully consider the things that you read or hear about in the news, because far and few in between are news sources that will give you objective information without a slant of some sort, and you’ll be certain to be bombarded by anything that sells their airtime. In fact, fact check this message.

Life is hard then. How does anyone make sense of all this? I can’t say I have the answers for you, but I can tell you where you can’t get your opinion. You can’t get your opinion from social media, a single news article, or even this post. As humans, we try to simplify everything that we do, so that we don’t have to work as hard. I’m guilty of that myself, and I work on complex problems for a living. Breaking windows, looting stores and otherwise damaging people’s property in the name of a man who has suffered from an undeserved tragedy, is no longer about that tragedy. Justice is a process, and that process should not be the bully with a stick, because your government carries a bigger stick.

You want to make change then, but you’re afraid your voice is too small? Don’t be a sheep. But don’t be rude. Start with your own neighborhood – start with you own social media friends. Start by helping someone in need, and educating yourself on the reasons our government cannot handle it all by themselves.

But most of all, remember that nothing comes easy in this world. You must actively engage in your world, and consistently refuse to give up, or give in, to meet your goals in your life. Lowering yourself to violence in a country that prides itself in it’s first amendment right, protected by the second, enforced by the largest military spending in the world, ought to mean that you need to infiltrate your own world, by engaging with it. You must be willing to engage with that friend on Facebook who consistently advocates for far left or right ideology, in a peaceful way that engages real-life rhetoric; examples from your own lives – and not just the ones that you are fed from your far-left or far-right sources. Make a difference by actively listening – and while you’re at it, put your phone away. When you’ve listened to the other person fully to the end of their statement, without formulating what you’re going to say before they’re done, then speak.

Some might argue that they have been speaking, and they haven’t been heard. I agree with you. Others will argue that other people haven’t said anything that they agree with. You’re both right.

You Should be less like this:

And more like this:

And until you get there, you are making a mistake of falling prey to the quintessential prisoner’s dilemma.

While what happened to Mr. Floyd was a preventable tragedy, the ensuing chaos is also preventable, and you should engage with your neighbor, and be the change you wish to see in the world, because it all starts with you. All of us, doing the same thing, working together.

If there is anything that a politician hates more, its the polls going against their favor. You can see that action happening in the swift action being taken by Minnesota. You can see that action happening with the Coronavirus.

Get out there and vote, America.

But be there for your neighbor too. Don’t be disheartened by the change in the world you wish to see, if you yourself, are not engaged in that.

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” – Ephesians 4:26

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1 Comment

  1. I am so happy with this. Whole heatedly agree. Glad to see that you have become such a level headed and educated individual. Cheers!

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