Leadership in the Midnight Hour: Where is President Trump?

If you’ve been paying even minimal attention to current events, then you know Americans are going awwwfff!

George Floyd was slowly murdered by four (former) Minneapolis Police Department officers on May 25th, 2020. Bystanders recorded video of Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on a cuffed and detained George Floyd’s neck. This caused causing a blockage to the Floyd’s carotid artery. Floyd continually cried for help stating, “I can’t breathe.” At one point he cried out for his deceased mother. Several videos of the account quickly went viral and the entire country could see this horrific death.

Police brutality within the Black community has long been a hot topic. The problem is very few White people actually believed us. Not enough anyways. As racism evolved to microagressions and covert actions it became easier to believe people’s hearts had changed towards Black people. We knew this was a boldface lie. It’s easy for some people to believe a lie rather than confront the truth of their thoughts. For us, we are confronting, no, living a daily truth that was consistently ignored.

Our next encounter with the police could be our last.

That’s probably the way police feel when they are summoned to a call. The difference is I didn’t sign up to protect and serve the public. So, I shouldn’t feel apprehensive unless I’m definitively doing something unlawful.

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As the country started to protest, and I do mean the entire country, I didn’t see the President of the United States. I’m fairly sure protests have happened in all 50 states to include Puerto Rico. Most of them turned into severe rioting. These folks were burning it down! But where was the Leader of the Free World when we needed assurance? When we needed a message of unity?

It turns out President Trump addressed the events calling them “a grave tragedy.” He even called the Floyd family. Floyd’s brother, Philonise, expressed disappointment with the call citing Trump being dismissive. Now that Trump addressed George Floyd it was business as usual. Trump signed an executive order regarding online censorship for social media platforms. Why? Because Twitter put a “fact check” title on a couple of blatant lies tweets he sent out. While his focus was on freedom of speech for himself for social media platforms, the country was burning. Literally. When the rioting became too much to ignore, he incited his base using old segregationist phrases such as “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” He discredited the protestors across the country.

In short, he turned into Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon all rolled in one.  He attacked the media. He blamed ANTIFA for the rioting (this might actually be true). He screamed “LAW AND ORDER!” He attacked Democratic leadership who were actually trying to hear Black voices.  Trump did everything but come out and acknowledge George Floyd did not have to die. It was a classic case of Southern Strategy. He didn’t provide a message of unity and hope. He didn’t talk about the opportunity for communication. He didn’t mention the frustration clearly the majority of the country is feeling. Nothing. He played the political long game because there’s an election coming in November.

He ran. He hid.

To be fair, protestors came up to the gates of the White House. Angry and cussing. Some were even throwing bricks and bottles. So, I get not immediately addressing the mob. At that point they didn’t want to hear reason. The question is… Would Trump actually say anything reasonable? In fact, why didn’t he say anything at all? A TV address? Something. The man who loves the camera. The man who brings in “ratings.” This was arguably his most important moment as President and he choose to take to Twitter.

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When Michael Brown was killed and Ferguson went up in flames, President Obama came out with a call for peace. In that he acknowledged Black people’s frustrations with policing. He stated that if he had a son, then that son could very well be Michael Brown. He understood. In my lifetime, that was the first President that actually got it. Well, the very people who support Trump (there is a sizable different between Trump Supporters and the Republican Party) ate President Obama alive. They rejected the idea of racism in the police force and said President Obama hated cops. All because he didn’t immediately “back the blue.” Trump, who was already angling for presidency, tweeted that leadership in Washington was weak to allow the rioting in Ferguson.

Oh my. How the tables have turned.

In our midnight hour. When the country is going through a massive shift. When we need a leader to step up and unite us. Our President left the country hanging.

President Trump…… Where are you?

 

 

Sources:

https://www.boston.com/news/national-news-2/2020/05/30/george-floyd-death-donald-trump

 

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