>> ‘It’s not enough until everything changes.”
On 2nd degree murder charges being brought up against Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis protestor Zoe Schaeffer says, “I won’t be satisfied until I can wake up and have kids and have them not fear their lives for just being black, for being darker than other people … It’s not enough until everything changes.” — MSNBC
It is a cliche but it’s also a truism–everything must change. That’s the way of the world. Everything changes. Even this crazy moment.
Given the turmoil following the murder of George Floyd, what happens next is the more relevant and more pressing question. When will systemic change actually occur?
Political observers are calling June 2020 an inflection point. Classically, an inflection point is a moment of crisis engendering momentous change, the moment when the old authorities unavoidably must and will be overcome.
Can the old guard hold on regardless of the undeniable reality of an uprising that is visible literally worldwide? Will the youth overtake the elders, especially those old (mainly white) men who are in charge?
Even though everybody seems to know that nothing can or will be as it was yesterday, nevertheless, despite what they might say for televised sound-bites, by calling for calm, civility and an end to rebellion, far too many police and politicians act like they favor moving back to the past rather than proceeding forward into a more equitable future. Regardless of the dangers, all across America there is an unstoppable mass of demonstrators who are demanding change. Caught in the middle of contending and contradictory forces, insistent citizens are marching on behalf of justice not only for George Floyd but, indeed, justice for all.
Black. Brown. Yellow. Red. & White. America’s got to have it–and what is “it”–well, that’s the million dollar question. Back in the sixties the old order asked “what do they want?”–“they” being Negroes and hippies. Ultimately, “they” got a Black president but it now seems that people realize that was not enough. Regardless who is the titular head, if there is not substantial change, the president alone will not matter. Electing a new president is necessary but not sufficient to create the society we need.
Today, over arching contradictions are three-fold: public health, police brutality, and economic chaos. The combination of these three negative forces is too much. The yoke is too heavy. There is a difficult reality that necessarily must be dealt with.
In the first week of June 2020, the coronavirus has killed over 110,000 people. After massive demonstrations, health officials warn that there will probably be a major uptick in the number of virus deaths. People’s health is a priority and if healthy living is not made available to all, the entire society may fall ill to the virus.
Literally millions of Americans (as well as people worldwide) are grappling with the seemingly intractable conflict of the police against the people. Physical clashes have gone on for well over a week. This is not a battle of good versus evil. This is a battle against oppression, especially when the oppression is wielded by forces that theoretically are supposed to be forces of protection.
Which brings us to a foundational problem: the majority of Americas are experiencing an economic disaster. Unemployment has skyrocketed. College educated, young whites, who have never even jay-walked in their life, are facing a bleak future and they are not silently suffering. The people–all genders, colors, religions, from a multiple of social conditions–people are rebelling.
Congress is at an impasse in terms of what to do about the dire financial conditions. At least a quarter of the workforce is unemployed. Bluntly put: many people don’t have enough money to live and have no prospects of obtaining substantial, long term relief. One stimulus check, even two more checks, won’t solve the problem. The problem is that living a good life under capitalism requires a stable and regular source of money. It costs more to live a good life than too many of us will ever earn.
No one should be a pauper! Every worker–and yes, that includes the unpaid labor of maintaining a home–in exchange for daily care giving and labor, every worker should receive all that they need to live. But the bosses will not just give it to us. We must fight the powers that be for our right to live a good life.
We must fight for our right to live a good life!
ONE: Resistance to oppression is the ultimate act of self love.
TWO: You do not have to know all the answer to righteously question authority.
THREE: The two necessary acts of love are 1. Love of self, which creates a healthy individual. 2. Love of others, which creates a healthy society. Moreover, the individual cannot be truly healthy if the society they live in is sick.
Zoe Schaeffer reminds us: a better world is possible if we are willing to care about others. Sometimes the future seems too scary to proceed but we must be brave enough to stand and fight regardless of our fears. Forward with love of and for each other. Forward for the health, well-being, and sustenance of each other.
Never go back. Forward for ever.