All We Are Saying

The world we live in has been rocked by crisis after crisis. First the Coronavirus slipped in amongst us, taking, at first, the most vulnerable populations from our nursing homes, Veterans’ Homes, Senior Living Facilities and then attacking the people who have the least access to medical care because they are financially stressed, Black and Latino, and many of them are on the front lines of our essential workforce

Workers in the food industry, nurse’s aides, nurses, EMT’s and even, yes, I’ll say it—the police. Despite the blue wall, I believe that most of the police really care about what they are doing. This is a strange period where the police and the people they are tasked to protect have found themselves at odds with each other. These are strange times indeed.

Now we have the brazen, thoughtless, sociopathic killing of George Floyd, caught on camera. A white police officer kneeling on his neck while he cried out, “I Can’t Breathe,” for close to nine long minutes. I watched this on my computer at first and I could not believe my eyes, yet I know my eyes were not lying to me.

The United States of America went wild! Because the police officer wasn’t arrested right away, as he should have been, and his three fellow officers went free when they should have been arrested for complicity in this horrendous murder which took place on camera for all to see.  The four police were fired but big deal!

When is enough enough? How many Black citizens have to die before a broken system is altered to make it possible for Black men and women to feel safe in our country? Obviously, I am not the only one who feels this way because the people of our land took to the streets in protest.

Yes, there was violence. But the majority of the people protesting were peaceful and many of them engaged in public prayer on their knees for the 8 and ½ minutes that it took one sociopathic police officer to slowly, on film, choke the life out of George Floyd while he begged for him to stop and called desperately for his mother in between his statement, “I Can’t Breathe.”

When this happens to one Black man, then it is happening to all sentient beings across the land, and it is our duty to speak up and pray and protest because next “they” will be coming for us. Unfortunately, at this time, we have a President who cares only for himself and has no compassion for the people of our fine land.

He says, “Make America Great Again,” yet our country, flawed though it is, has always been sown with greatness.  Yet through our land are people who feel that they are more entitled than others because of the color of their skin.  You know who I’m talking about, don’t you?

There are the Amy Coopers of our land, walking her dog without a leash in Central Park, which is against the law, and when a Black man asks her politely to “leash the dog,” she threatens him and calls the police saying that a Black man is threatening to attack her. The Black man was lucky that he was a well-known “birder” who was often seen in the park. Just lucky instead of shot dead!

Now the streets of our cities are full of people of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, from Black to white to yellow to red, who are marching in our cities and towns because they have seen this horror of police brutality of our Black and dark-skinned folks over and over.

George Floyd is just the tip of the iceberg.  There was Breonna Taylor, executed by gunshot, while resting in her own home due to a mistaken “no knock warrant,” killed because the police went to the wrong address. The list of names of Black men and women killed unjustly is endless. The police almost always escape unscathed. In 2019, data from the National Academy of Sciences showed that Blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be slain by police than whites.

I have a Black friend, who wishes to remain nameless, who went out to get a pizza, wearing a mask as the law requires, and when he came out of the pizzeria there were two police vehicles parked by his car on this quiet suburban business district.  Nothing happened but it could have gone deadly had the wrong police been in those cars.

The people are in the streets calling desperately for change while our red-headed idiot of a president tweets, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” and calls for the authorities to get the vicious dogs ready to attack the demonstrators, peaceful or not.

The times are ripe for change and for our country to recognize the rights of Blacks, Latinos and others who are just trying to survive in a place where a minority of Nationalists exist and think they are more entitled than others and can kill with impunity. Some of them are police, unfortunately.

So the good people of America march and pray, while a minority of them attack police, loot stores and throw Molotov cocktails. This is not the message that the people desire. As John Lennon said, before a gunman cut him down, “All we are saying is Give Peace A Chance — All we are saying is Give Peace A Chance.”

We can’t say it enough.  Will the horrific event, the killing of George Floyd by someone who was tasked to protect us, be the final straw that breaks the back of the inbred racism of our country? Pay attention please. “All we are saying, is Give Peace A Chance.”

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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