Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Thank Goodness Reality and Right Prevailed

Relief. I was anxious all day Tuesday waiting for a verdict that had the potential to unleash wave upon wave of frustration-laced violence. 


Thank goodness the jury delivered the only verdict that equated with reality. 


President Biden struck the right tone in remarks Tuesday night. The challenge to reach a more perfect union is no less daunting today, but the potential is at least on the horizon.  


In his commentary on the guilt of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, Biden did not smooth over the difficulties Blacks and people of color have faced for centuries in our country. Without naming names of the recently wrongly deceased at the hands of police, he provided a compilation of tragedies white people seldom face that minorities must contend with every day. 


In order to deliver real change and reform we can, and we must, do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedy like this will ever happen to occur again, to ensure that black and brown people or anyone, so they don’t fear the interactions with law enforcement, that they don’t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life. They don’t have to worry about whether their sons or daughters will come home after a grocery store run, or just walking down the street or driving a car or playing in the park or just sleeping at home,” he said. 


I have not yet read or heard any comments from jurors as to what swayed them. For me, what elevated Chauvin’s actions into the realm of indefensible was his persistence in pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for three minutes beyond the time Floyd lost his struggle to breathe and live. 


This crime was no split second reaction to imminent danger. Floyd had no weapon. No gun. No knife. He was pinned to the ground, arms cuffed behind his back. He was helpless to prevent his life from being snuffed out. His cries that he could not breathe went unheeded by Chauvin and, indeed, the three other policemen at the scene, two of whom helped keep Floyd motionless. 


Smartphones revealed reality. It has been 30 years since video captured the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles policemen. Though charged with using “excessive force,” they were found not guilty. 


Three decades is a long time to wait for justice to catch up to reality. 



One in a Million: Last week Stephen Colbert asked one of his female writers if she feared receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. She was, after all, a member of the female 18-48 cohort that had sustained seven known blood clot incidents, including one fatality, from among the seven million J&J shots administered in the United States. 


Not really, she replied, given that birth control contraceptives and Botox treatments can cause blood clots at a much higher rate of incidence. She reasoned the risk of a vaccination induced blood clot was sufficiently low compared to the other ways a blood clot could show up, and the reward of life returning to normalcy was worthy it.  



I’m at war with the birds. Not all of them. Just the sparrows that keep trying to build nests in the space behind our rolled up patio awning. 


At both ends of the awning and in the middle sparrows have been busy every dawn gathering brush to build nests. Each morning I yank the three nests down with a wire hanger attached to a long bamboo pole, only to have to repeat the evictions 24 hours later. 


Last year I gave up the fight. But not this year. 


The birds drew first blood a few days ago. A walking wounded injury in the battle to control the aviary population. Not even worthy of a Purple Heart. I cut my right index finger while installing foot-long strips of three inch spikes along the awning frame.


It’s been three days without any new nests. Victory may be mine. 



Boycott Update: My plan to boycott Coca-Cola and other Georgia-based companies that failed to lobby against the Peach State’s repressive new voter law has run into an unforeseen problem. 


I had expected to substitute Glaceau’s VitaZero lemonade for Diet Coke. But a few days after embarking on my protest I discovered Coca-Cola purchased Glaceau in 2007. 


News broke Tuesday that a coalition of Black ministers from more than 1,000 churches in Georgia are advocating a boycott of Home Depot because it has been less than aggressive in its opposition to the new law, unlike after-the-fact statements emanating from Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines. Though some civil rights groups and Democrats have not endorsed a boycott, the clergy viewed the action in its historical use as a component of fighting for equal opportunities for Blacks. 


Maybe, just maybe, corporate America is getting a moral compass. More companies are speaking out (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/21/business/dealbook/business-civil-rights-george-floyd.html?smid=em-share).


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell two weeks ago warned, “My advice to the corporations of America is to stay out of politics.” 


Sure, that’s how he feels now that businessmen are not toeing the line Republicans want. Consider, however, what he said when the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations are people and entitled to spend freely on political campaigns. 


“The court decision was fairly unremarkable,” said McConnell. “All it really said was that under the First Amendment every corporation in America should be free to participate in the political process.” 

Apparently McConnell never considered the business world would ever embrace equality and openly advocate for it. 


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