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  • Anthony J. Mungin

On the Front Line

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

The convictions of those in the trenches—lifting their voices at the risk of bashed skulls, cracked ribs, and even death present a far better option than white supremacy.

Like so many, I too watched with great anxiety FOX, CNN, and the local news’ coverage of the protest of George Floyd’s death. Floyd’s death came at the hands of Derek Chauvin, the officer who for almost nine minutes had his knees pressed upon Floyd’s neck.

I felt trapped, consumed with anger, wanting to lash out, no less capable of unleashing the same fury that protesters, rioters, and looters were letting loose. So, imagine my angst, upon witnessing police chiefs and self-righteous politicians scolding the actions of protesters, rioters, and looters. While I am not in favor of looting or rioting, neither can I readily dismiss the probable root causes or the instigators of these actions.

For so long people of color have been the “have nots” of our society, living at the margins, barely making it from day to day. I am angry because there seems to be a gross disconnect in our society, if not, a disgraceful hypocrisy in play.

Mainly, I despise how dispassionately the callous murder of yet another innocent, unarmed black men has been overshadowed by obsessions about materialistic things or how young men and women are conducting themselves in the streets. I might add, young men and women who feel they have nothing to lose.

Consequently, looters and rioters have become opportunists with mixed priorities while the majority of protesters have remained true to the cause. Granted, some have recklessly looted and pillaged. But so too have their resourceful critics who have capitalized on all the publicity, raking in millions in awards and donations on the backs of these young trailblazers, no matter what their proclivities have been.

Perhaps those who created this monster called oppression are in no position to prescribe how its wounded should react. Nor is it right to cast dispersions against their commitment to the cause. I seriously doubt these fed-up young men and women would be canvassing those streets if yet another corrupt cop had not killed yet another innocent, unarmed, black man.

Whatever their tendencies, observing brave men and women lying face down chanting Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” I do not see protesters, thugs or looters who should have vicious dogs sicked on them or the military called upon to shoot them onsite. Instead, I hear the desperate cries of the unheard, decrying law enforcement’s corrupt actions and the blatant impunity with which it acts.

Collectively, I see a group of amped-up, courageous young men and women who have conceptualized that something is reprehensibly wrong and have dispatched themselves to exposing a longstanding injustice.

Make no mistake about it, we are where we are today because these courageous young men and women have taken the fight to local, state, and federal officials, and their chants of “I can’t breathe” are being heard around the world. In no small measure, they are a big part of the reason Derek Chauvin was arrested, his charge upgraded to second degree murder, and his accomplices subsequently accused of aiding and abetting.

Instead of being their critics perhaps those in power should engage these young, impassioned heroes who obviously know more than most about their collective struggles. Why haven’t they been invited to the table of community leaders and law enforcement officials?

The problem will not be solved by self-righteous blabber mouths with deep pockets who cowardly stand on the sidelines calling the shots and muddying the waters. Any real work gets done by those on the front line, in the trenches, dodging rubber bullets, with pepper spray, and teargas swirling over their heads. Perhaps, the time for Monday morning quarterbacking has long passed!

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