Am I surprised people are angry enough to protest and even riot? No. The death of George Floyd was just the latest in a string of events that have put strains on a public desperate for relief. Millions of Americans have been isolated for several months. Some have lost loved ones. Many have lost their jobs, and more might lose their businesses.
So, people are angry. They have a right to be angry. If this pandemic and its high body count has taught us anything, it’s that life is too short to be cruel to others. As people are still at home trying to avoid hot spots of new cases, they get to see police kill a guy for no reason other than they can. Facts came out that made the whole situation worse.
What happens next?
I don’t know. There’s a lot of scary ways this plays out. They’re not what I want to think about right now.
Instead, I’d like to note that most protests have been peaceful. Considering all the things that have gone wrong lately, it somewhat surprises me that things aren’t worse. On the news and collectively I’m seeing nightmares play out in high definition. On an individual basis, I’m seeing people do their best to be kind to each other.
Right now things look bleak. But there’s reason for hope. Much of the poor leadership we’ve had for the past several years can get changed in November. I can’t think of a clearer example of why we need good leadership. Not strong leaders, or powerful leaders.
Good leaders. Ones who know the human cost of their decisions. Ones who can give people a productive outlet for their pain instead of nothing but threats and posturing. Ones who stand by their decisions and own them instead of pretending they don’t exist.
I don’t know what happens next, but I know that November is going to be important in figuring that out.