Monday, June 01, 2020

A Week for the History Books

This week gave us a lot to think about and worry over as all across the United States protests against the blatant killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police erupted and often turned violent, not only in Minneapolis, but Sioux Falls and Duluth too saw violence and destruction. 
It's frustrating to see the legitimate protests against racial profiling and systemic racism become sidelined by violence and destruction and looting.  Opportunists see the disruption and extend it for their own gain, whether it be to subvert the nonviolent message of the protests or simply to get material gain from looting businesses. 
Deana and I were happy in Sioux Falls yesterday to see a huge crowd moving north along Minnesota Avenue, so many that they were disrupting traffic and extending their planned march through downtown.  Starting at 5:00 Sunday afternoon, by 6:00 the crowd, mostly of young people, were chanting the name of George Floyd and calling for justice and the end of racist practices. 
But when we returned to our home in Madison later that evening and saw the news that violence had erupted at the Empire Mall, and that the city was under curfew and the guard had been called out, the story was then a different one.  Teargas and rock-throwing youths and troops with their weapons drawn and lights flashing while drivers honked or zoomed past.  It's not the thing we imagine for South Dakota. 
And to see our Governor, Kristi Noem, appear last night to send a message to the people of Sioux Falls and South Dakota, and the first thing I see is her with her baseball cap pulled low over her eyes, I can't even look, and I turn off the television.  That cap is a signal of the disregard she has for the job she holds, to appear on camera at a microphone with her face half shrouded.  It is as though she's a football coach who has to face the media after her much vaunted team has just lost a big game, and she's out on the field with the glare of cameras on her.  I can't stand it.  So I don't know what she said except that violence has no place in South Dakota.
But one thing she can claim is that unlike the elected Democratic leaders who Donald Trump was railing against as he hid away in the bunker at the White House, she had called out the National Guard at the first sign of violence.  So some of this, at least, is fodder for the President as he campaigns for re-election. 
Meanwhile, what comfort can he give to a country that has seen violence escalate from coast to coast?  There won't be any.  He'll rail against his enemies and point the fingers at anyone he can think of to take the blame.