American cities are in flames, lives have been lost, property and dreams destroyed; such are the wages of hatred and anger, betrayal, and deceit. What pains are to come next? This is a difficult question that will try to evade an answer, I think.

We live in a time that has changed the rules of communication, honesty, and decency⏤and has abandoned all definitions of terms and concepts we once thought were grounded in stone all for the purpose of controlling the narrative and guiding the incident.

Hypocrisy for instance. At one time in America, to be called and defined as a hypocrite was to ruin one’s chances at being taken seriously. Personal credibility was a premium we had to pay to get a place at the table and have a legitimate voice. Anything less was relegated to the trash heap. Not so much anymore.

In our age, the hypocrite is considered a warrior for their cause, saying what is expedient to get into the news cycle, score a point against an opponent or feed red meat to your base of supporters; it is a word now describing the new hero. 

A liar is one defined by who is telling the story, not by the facts on the ground or the reality of the situation. Today’s liar is viewed as a gifted speaker, one who can twist words to meet the immediate need or confuse the issue so badly that no one can be sure what is genuine and what is mere fiction as long as the story they tell is for the right and approved reason. The liar is a champion of the liquid truth⏤that being the truth of the loudest voice. It can change, backtrack and hide behind a wall of hypocrites all telling the approved story for the right reason. 

It is in this context, by the light of the Molotov cocktail induced flames, that we see legitimate protest and the pain of a nation distorted and used as a cover for other activities, approved activities if you will.    

Of course, I speak of the tragic, senseless, and criminal death of one American, George Floyd, a man from Minnesota, the heartland of America. We all saw his death as it happened, it was tragic, and senseless and I’ll add disgusting and horrifying to see a man with his face on the street, an officer hovering over him with a knee on his neck. To go further we can surely agree it was heart wrenching to hear and see Mr. Floyd call for help and call to his mother before dying on the road helpless. To not recognize these factors on face value is a lack of human compassion.

I, like most of my fellow citizens, felt anger when we watched him die and we felt a great sadness for Mr. Floyd’s family as their loved one was lost. While we might not all have the same experiences in life, we can all relate to the pain this situation has caused. And it is here that we can unite. 

All of our life experiences are different, but everyone understands justice. It is this point I will pull from this episode and lesson in national agony. It is time for us to have some very serious conversations, conversations that may change the nature of our nation and our relationships to each other. It will take great courage to address the topics we need to address if we are to change for the better, and the journey will be battering. We will, each of us, have to face the light of truth about ourselves, and I mean all of us. This is one of the points of failure in any discussion, because it is very hard to do.   

Americans are calling out for justice⏤we all need to hear that call and examine the call not with our own experience alone, but with wider eyes to see what we might be missing so we can address the needs and concerns of many in our American family. 

To get us to that better place⏤everyone’s fears and concerns must be presented and addressed appropriately, if not we will see a quick end to the conversation. It is here that we often find the second point of failure in a conversation, exclusivity. If we do not have a wide open and honest conversation, we cannot ever move forward and change this moment of history. We want to bring an end to suffering and injustice; we want to find that colorblind society that looks at a person’s character and not the color of their skin, we want one American family.             

If we agree with that premise, we next have to ask, does America deserve this pain and the flames of destruction? Is it necessary, as many say, to heal the wounds or will it cause an even greater schism among our people? When do we stop going back and forth demanding a pound of flesh from each other before we can go forward together?

I am not talking about ignoring the need for justice so we can move on, that would not work at all; those who have perpetrated crimes must be held to account in the strongest possible way. We should set an example as to what happens when a person crosses the line; that is a deterrent. We must also recognize that a deterrent is only useful if there is actually an accounting for one’s actions. This is where is see failure point number 3.

Mr. Floyd’s killer should pay for his crime plain and simple, that is justice and I believe every thinking person can see that. When we see actual justice delivered unto the wicked, we are all better for it. Justice must apply evenly, swiftly and without excuse if it to have the positive affect we all hope for, anything less is a corruption and will ensnare us in its web causing more problems than it solves.

What then is the plan going forward?

Let us look at the facts before us: We have aggrieved protesters and those who support them, myself included, calling for help. We have instigators who are using this situation as cover for their negative desires. Their actions of looting and burning are not legitimate expressions of anger, especially when you see they are taking it out on innocent people and business owners who had nothing to do with the actions of the officer that Killed George Floyd. These are opportunists who seek weakness to exploit, they care for no one but themselves. These people denigrate the message of the righteous and dishonor George Floyd’s memory. Those who committed these acts must be held to account for justice to be realized. Anything short of holding them accountable will render the entire exercise fruitless. Justice is for all or it will be for none. To ignore their crimes will frustrate any movement forward. We must all be on board with this. 

And finally, we have the real dangerous people in this scenario, the people who have other motives for their actions.

They are not aggrieved protesters or simple criminals taking advantage, this group of people plot violence and chaos. These are the agent provocateurs that seek the ruination of all that we hold dear or seek to attain in our enlightenment. They are terrorists.

It is sometimes hard to see who is who amid the smoking ruins of a man’s dream sports bar, something that he worked and saved up for a lifetime to open, or the charred remains of dozens of cars lining the streets besides the shards of broken glass and remnants of store fronts, their guts of merchandise strewn about the sidewalk like garbage. It is in this chaos that all the players blend, leaving the millions watching on TV at a loss to understand the carnage and unable to hear the message of the righteous.            

In the middle of it all our police officers, men and women who swore to protect and serve everyone in the community run from bottles and bricks, taunts and spitting, and gun shots from place to place trying to quell the violence, but often ending up under attack instead. 

Our media, given a vaunted place and mission in our national foundation, bend the story to suit their biased needs, feeding the flames of insurrection and laughing at the destruction. 

And the anarchists, revolutionaries, socialists, and communists along with their political allies in high government places do nothing as America burns from within as it suits their plans.    

As a people we must support the real protesters; their plight is out plight, their cause is our cause and we must reject the criminals and the agitators completely. We must demand honesty from our media, or they should be ignored. We must demand our officials act in the interest of every citizen and stop this violence before we awaken in a place, we never planned on being. 

America burns from within only if we are silent and only if we allow it to happen.