Thursday, June 04, 2020

A Most Peculiar Time

Is it me or is something wrong with this picture?
It's not at all easy to explain away America in 2020. At the beginning of the year I was overwhelmed with optimism. That always happens to me at the turn of every decade. As 1999 was turning into 2000 twenty years ago (which is impossible to believe) I was under the delusion that everything would work itself out in the new millennium. Before the year was over it became apparent to me that the 21st century was going to be more of a drag than the 20th. When I was a teenager I loved listening to David Bowie's recording of Memory of a Free Festival from his Space Oddity LP. I particularly loved listening to this song when I was high on marijuana. It would take me to a place where I could visualize paradise on earth as a very possible, even tangible thing. I wish I still had that imaginative quality. It's gone, probably forever. When grass is finally available for sale in New York, I'm seriously thinking of taking up the habit again. That might not be a bad idea. I drink too much as it is.
The uprising that is now occurring in the American streets has not been given a name yet, so for the time being I'll simply refer to it as the George Floyd Revolution - which seems like as good a name as any. Like every revolution in American history something truly good will come of this. Will it produce the paradise on earth of my pot-fueled, teenaged fantasies? Probably not. But I can hope, can't I? Hope is all we have.
The revolution is being televised.
The charge against Derek Chauvin, the cop that cruelly tortured George Floyd to death on a Minneapolis street in full view of a phone camera, was upgraded yesterday to second degree murder. The three other officers that took part in the crime are being charged as accomplices to that murder. This is as it should be. What happened in that city ten days ago will be seen, hopefully, as a national wake-up call that will end the epidemic of innocent black lives being terminated at the hands of a few racist, trigger-happy police. As reported on this site last week, I once had a conversation with a member of the New York City Police Department who told me (with a straight face), "I won't consider my career complete until I've killed at least one nigger". To pretend that the murder of George Floyd is merely an isolated incident is to ignore the much bigger problem that is eating away the fabric of American society. It can't be this way anymore. It won't be.

The whole world is watching.

2020 will be remembered as a milestone year in the history of the United States. We've had the 1918 flu pandemic, the Great Depression and summer of 1968 all neatly rolled up into one single year. And the amazing thing to contemplate is that it's not even halfway over yet! I shudder to even ponder what the next seven months has in store for us. Of this we may be absolutely certain: it sure isn't going to be boring.

Fasten your seatbelts! 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Memory of a Free Festival
by David Bowie
The sun machine is coming down and we're gonna have a party!


At 10:19 AM, Blogger Jude said...

I long for the innocent days of my youth, when our generation believed that love was the answer.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Joanne Noragon said...

It just flashed past me; the televising of the war in Vietnam hastened its end. May a million, million cell phones hasten this televised end.

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Les Holmes said...

The world outside of the USA is watching events unfolding in your country with horror. There is so much that is (was?) great about the US. It feels like I am watching a country descent into fascism. How can the so-called "land of the free" and the richest country in the world treat its citizens with such utter contempt?

How can a country that was built by immigrants treat its immigrant/ex-slave minorities with so appallingly?
How are you the only OECD country with no access to free healthcare, terrible infant mortality rates (you are ranked 38th in 2015, behind Cuba), and life expectancy (again, ranked 38th, behind Chile), with healthcare costs being the number one reason for bankruptcies in the US?
How are your income inequalities acceptable (your top 1% earners take 20% of ALL income in the US)?
How can a functioning democracy target peaceful protesters and journalist for police violence?
How can huge sections of voters be disenfranchised, electoral boundaries be rigged, and your president call for postal ballots to be banned?

Maybe, just maybe, your citizens will wake up and realise America is not that "great", and there will be a new dawn after the darkest of these current days.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Just the Facts! said...

Any insight to how the Police Unions are going to react to the movement to de-fund the police? Strike?


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