By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair
I have been reading the book Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. The book is a collection of sermons written during and after the bus protests in Montgomery, AL. I started it before the incidents of the last several days, but the sermons are truly relevant for today. It is surprising and shameful that sermons from 65 years ago show how slow progress has been in relations among races.
This past week we have witnessed actions from police that rival the worst that I have ever seen. And my memory goes back more than 50 years. The police could not have done a better job of indicting themselves on charges of systemic racism and excessive force. We have seen how police have deliberately attacked peaceful protesters, beat up media, used rubber bullets indiscriminately on people standing on the porches of their homes, dragged people from their cars, assaulted an old man on the sidewalk and walked by as he lay bleeding on the pavement. The examples go on ad infinitum from police departments large and small from coast to coast. In many instances police had multiple complaints of abuse in their background but nothing was done. One officer had 79 complaints of excessive force during a three-year period and was still employed. All of this shows a failure of leadership at all levels of law enforcement and of government officials who oversee their police forces.
The protests of the last several days since the death of George Floyd are a part of a grieving process and an expression of outrage. Governments, even in places such as the United States which allow such assemblies, generally detest protest because it highlights the failures of our society and their leadership. But we must have grievance and lamentation before we can move on to the healing process. The failures of our government are legion, and they begin at the very top of our federal government.
A quote from Strength to Love is appropriate here:
All of this reminds us that evil carries the seed of its own destruction. …Evil has a self-defeating quality. It can go a long way, but then it reaches its limit. There is something in this universe that Greek mythology referred to as the goddess of Nemesis.
Change can come about, but only if the current leaders are removed. Protest can be turned into powerful action at the ballot box. If we keep up the fight, we can move mountains.
This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.