Please understand that I have not weighed in on the George Floyd murder as it has taken all this time for me to recover from my anger and trying to get in touch with it to figure out what’s going on with me. I typically have an instantaneous reaction to such injustices and found myself, for the first time, emotionally paralyzed to express my feeling of incredible, but persistent rage.
It came to me this morning that the footage of George Floyd being murdered by such a cavalier policeman and his accomplices with such disregard for Mr. Floyd’s humanity was reminiscent of pictures I have seen of Nazis killing Jews in the streets of Europe is what can only be described as state sanctioned genocidal war crimes. I had to find the source of my archetypal anger from the this incident to get in touch with my anger to be able to release it in what are hopefully insightful coherent and instructive thoughts.
I am angered beyond belief and hope, that we live in a society that is capable of becoming Nazified in a heartbeat as people who are extremists and haters from many sides of the political spectrum, have infiltrated every level of government, public service, academia to marginalize and promote genocidal doctrines of hate.
They hide behind what they believe is a constitutional right to say and do what ever they feel and think without regard for the damage they are doing and their right to do so is frequently upheld by the courts. Whether it be Nazis and Klansmen marching through Skokie or an artist paining pictures of Jesus in urine or so-called “progressive” members of Congress declaring “it’s all about the Benjamins.” These hateful expressions are designed to incite and promote irrational hatred for other groups of individuals and lead to the very real consequences of subjugation and genocide.
In other words, our courts and society have allowed us so much freedom under the Constitution, without regard for the long term consequences of the development of institutionalized genocidal racism, where being Black, identifiably Jewish or Muslim can make you a target and fair game for violence based on hateful notions perpetuated through the public sector.
This is being fueled at the very highest levels of government these days to a leader whose Father was a Klansman and who is a believer in Eugenics and has followed the Goebbels’s propaganda rule that if you tell big lies often and frequent enough, they become perceived as the truth with a hard core following of near 40% in this country and with a good chance of winning a second term of office.
What scares me most is that I am seeing pillars in my own community sanctioning this treachery with the same passion I am against it. They are completely blind to what is going on in the streets. These are educated people, lawyers, doctors, business leaders and others all from our community, all of whom fail to realize that even they are the objects of many of his follower’s hate and allows him to say “there are good people on both sides….”
And I am thinking about my great Uncle whose last letter to Grandfather was that he was going to stay in Austria because everything would eventually be OK and when we laid the Stones of Remembrance at the address of the house in Vienna, Austria, from where he and his family were deported and exterminate and it fills me with rage.
When I see a cop with his knee on a Black man’s throat killing him, I am reminded of the only picture Esther has of her uncle is one of his being taken to a gallows in a concentration camp to be hung as an example to other captives because he was Jewish and I am filled with rage.
I worry continually about what could happen to the incredibly sweet and thoughtful, but emotionally labile because of Austism,25 year old grandson of an African American friend and colleague of mine as he lives and walks the scenic and serene streets of rural America and wonder what might happen if he is stopped while being Black.
Much has been written about the archetypal and intergenerational effects of repeated trauma and those of us who live with it daily are able to empathize with others who have suffered similarly. We must now give real meaning to “Black Lives Matter,” “Never Again” and all expressions of resisting genocidal institution oppression.
We must all harness our rage lawfully and as peacefully as we can keeping in mind Dr. King’s advice that ” An eye for an eye only leads to blindness.” We must live by the principles we wish to be treated. It requires the best from us and that is hard when the anger sometimes overpowers the weaknesses in each of us. Civility starts with each of us.