The last straw had finally been pulled.
On May 25th, 2020, a middle-aged respectable black man named George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer while three of his fellow officers stood by watching. It was captured on video; the horrifying images quickly went viral.
It was the modern-day “shot heard throughout the world.”
As has happened so many times in the past, there were protests and riots displaying the anger and angst of those dealing with the one-sidedness of the racial divide. Yet another black man had been murdered by the white police. And, as in the past, I think that the majority of leaders believed that the public outrage would fizzle out within a few days.
This time the opposite occurred.
Back when I was working on my engineering degree, I took a Labor Studies course. The course was generally geared around developing a critical insight into the Industrial Revolution, and the political climate of the times, including how unions and many alternative political ideas came to be.
I was engrossed.
I was outside having a cigarette with the course professor and I asked him why engineers and professionals do not generally form unions. His response was simply, “They will when there is a need for it.”
I am applying his logic to our current state – the world is unionizing right now.
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With the daunting battle against the Covid-19 still ongoing, we were looking to our leaders for… leadership. Instead we got bullshit, lies, and excuses, and then more bullshit, lies and excuses. I am not speaking of all leaders – many have been very effective and had their constituents lives and livelihoods in mind as they made difficult decisions under dire circumstances – some even under protest by the very constituents they were trying to protect.
The state of the mental health in the world was dismal. In Canada and the US many people were without money to pay for the bare essentials such as rent and food. Foodbanks were overwhelmed. There was and still is a significant number of individuals who faced anxiety and depression for the first time ever.
Small businesses and “gig-jobs” were without work and faces the possibility of never returning to their jobs and even possibly going bankrupt. Even some larger companies faced bankruptcy.
Children were not in school, and parents were forced to become teachers and/or stay at home. And the children themselves suffered – how could a parent explain to their 6-year old why they couldn’t go play with their friends?
In mid-to-late May, after 8 or 9 long weeks of isolation, the great sleeping bear awakened with the spring sunshine, and we came out of our isolation and began to slowly piece our societies and communities back together – but with caution, in most cases.
But there still looms the possibility of a second spike in infections – especially if people become too complacent and/or once the seasons change and the flu season descends upon us in the autumn and winter.
* * * * *
And then came June 1st, 2020. There was a photo-opportunity that the American President – the leader of the free world – could not pass up on. He called upon the police to use violence to push back peaceful protestors, just to make a safe path for him and a handful of his cronies to cross the street so that he could hold up a book – a Bible – in front of a church to be immortalized as a part of his legacy of narcissism and self-promotion.
Understandingly, the protests intensified.
The next day – June 2nd – I watched with my eyes glued to the television as the Canadian Prime Minister was asked his opinion about the President’s actions the day before. The Prime Minister simply stood at the podium for 21 long seconds – absolutely speechless – with his eyes trained on the camera before him before speaking.
Understandingly, the protests intensified.
That night I barely slept. Stories of peaceful protests being broken up by police were spreading all across the US – all across the world. I was near tears as I laid in my bed attempting to fall asleep. I felt myself slipping into a deep depression. I felt that there was no solution in sight. The world was going to collapse in upon itself, and I felt hopeless. I am not a believer in “The Rapture,” but I can definitely see how the Book of Revelations in the Bible could be construed as a prophecy-coming-true.
Worse, stories of violent protests and looting were being presented by the nightly news – there was destruction left everywhere. Like me, millions felt afraid and saddened – even anxious and depressed. We did not feel safe. Not only were we as a global unit suffering because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but as it progressed a fascist leader was finally showing his true colors like a peacock with his blatant narcissism and lack of empathy for the American people.
I was having difficulty processing what was happening to our world.
But then I spoke with a cousin/friend of mine, who led me to the realization that the looting and violence was uncommon for most of the protests. The news-reporters were focused on the negative because that was what sold and entertained the masses. She pointed out that the vast majority of protesters were peacefully demonstrating. Further, I learned that in many cases many police joined the protestors. She reminded me to step back and question what is being said – to use my critical thinking skills.
I think that most people assumed the riots and protests would just fizzle out as the week progressed – the rich white rulers would make some empty promises about legislating more anti-racism laws and therefore appeasing the population.
Instead, the opposite occurred. I watched Steven Colbert’s show, and he stated that there were 380 cities in the US alone where there were protests being held. By the next night, there were over 430 protests – just in US cities.
The President holed himself up in his presidential bunker. A narcissist to the end – he denied that he was hiding from the people. At long last, one of the “Rich White Men” who controlled the majority was afraid.
Across the world people of all colors and creed were protesting for equality and to end systematic racism and the richest ruling over the many. People have finally started to come together to peacefully push for change.
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These are historical times in which we are living.
As far back as I can remember I asked myself why it was now that I was alive. I have always felt that I was here for a reason. I speak with others, and they generally do not share my feeling – I find this perplexing.
I asked myself – what could I do?
And then I realized that I have written a novel entitled The King Who Would Be Man, that is about to be launched into the world, and it speaks to narcissism, bullying and oppression – amongst other things. Mine is not a novel about world politics, but it does give an insight in part about the politics of the power and greed of the upper crust feeding off of the sweat and blood of the lesser in the corporate world.
And, I realized that I could write this post which you are currently reading. (I apologize for the shameless self-promotion, but a Man must do what a Man must do!)
My world is changing. I have been evolving exponentially as a human being over the past three years. Everyone close to me has noticed it and gone so far as to mention it. That weird, quiet, shy little red-headed Brian Plank guy is giving his opinions and sharing his thoughts. He was confident and optimistic.
I started to get excited. Not just for me, but for the world.
Real change is finally coming.