The air smelled of anarchy and new beginnings. We watched the burning smoke from rooftops. Everyone talked about the same thing. Eyes glued to social media. The motorcycles and trucks on the distant highway revved their engines with a guttural roar. The police were on defense. They wouldn’t answer if we called.
George Floyd was killed, and we were at the epicenter of the aftermath.
We were confident in our belief, but unsure about the future. Like a hero sneaking through a thick forest brush, we crept into a different world. Nervous, excited, nauseated. Time moved slowly. We have something rotten inside us, and we were finally burning it out.
I didn’t participate in the protesting. We were hesitant to leave our house.
There were good protesters and good cops, both working together within the confines of our structures. There were also stupid people on both sides, escalating issues and causing unnecessary trouble.
Eventually, we helped clean up the streets during the day while protests continued at night. I didn’t condemn the burning. After all, something had to give. But I mourned the collateral losses of the innocent.
I live in the exhausted majority. I don’t back my full weight behind either wing of the United States socio-political arena. My beliefs are fluid and depend on the situation and the context. I don’t align my beliefs with either of the political poles. Here’s what I know:
I believe that we discriminate unfairly in our culture, especially against people of color through racism. I believe that police have the responsibility to de-escalate tense situations without lethal force. I believe in peaceful protest to demand change.
I believe in the good of people.
I believe that police who protect and serve are pivotal and respectable in our society. I believe that criminals take advantage of police de-escalation tactics to get out of justice. I believe that burning and looting property is not a peaceful protest.
So, on the issue on police brutality, I can’t pick a side. I’m exhausted of thinking that we have to pick one. I hear both sides with valid arguments but not every situation fits the same narrative.
It’s ok to not decide on these types of complex issues. They involve multiple steps that we can rarely agree on by themselves: where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. All three factors are open to deep debate. We must be flexible to work toward the answer. The effective resolution will be a mix, including the best ideas from a diverse set of perspectives.