What I’m Doing About George Floyd’s Killing
During the Vietnam War one of the hate demons that plague the world suddenly materialized out of thin air and murdered three little girls right in front of me. I couldn’t save them. They were shot by a helicopter’s M-60 machine gun only a few feet above them. Tet Offensive. The violence—it was like seeing them hammered into the ground by anvils. Their shattered little bodies crumpled like rag dolls.
They lie there still in my mind’s eye—and will until I die—reminding me of my kinship with them and all that is, ever was, and ever will be.
Everything I have done since that moment has been an effort at repentance, trying to make the world better, begging forgiveness for my own evil in the American War in Vietnam. My efforts have been feeble.
But they have not been nothing.
The hate demon struck before me again the other day when that Minneapolis policeman murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck. Like most of us, I have been dumbstruck by what feels like the stench-spirit of Nazi gas ovens wafting among us. I have been embarrassed by the naked emperor now occupying the White House who has so shamelessly—though helpfully—disrobed before us.
I felt impotent and paralyzed before Trump’s evil. What could I do about the uniformed police hate that killed George Floyd? The police violence now marauding our streets in the blue camouflage of law and order?
The only unforgivable sin is against the Holy Spirit, Jesus reportedly said. But what’s that? It’s calling good bad and bad good, said the advisor to a Princeton Theological Seminary graduate friend of mine.
Still, what could I do, an “innocent” white bystander, in this Armageddon of the American soul? Me, heir to genocide and slavery: what can I do?
And then the governor of my state, Jay Inslee of Washington (“a snake,” President Trump called him), sent me an email and let me know: “If you can, make a donation to support the NAACP Legal Defense Fund right now.”
That is called transformational leadership: act on what you believe, or lead the coward’s life and see what happens. See, as Chief Seattle advised President Pierce, what it leaves you to teach your children on cold winter nights so they will wish for tomorrow.
So I did. I sent in a little more than 10% of my fixed monthly VA PTSD and Social Security income. That’s not much, way below the national average income. But it’s a whole world more than nothing.
And then I did the same thing for Sen. Cory Booker’s re-election campaign. That’s another world more than nothing. I had earlier made a little contribution to Sen. Booker’s Presidential campaign and was so sad when he had to drop out. The documentary Street Fight tells you what you need to know about Sen. Booker.
If you’re so inclined, you can join me. If you can only send a dollar, do that. It’s actually a lot, acorn of a beautiful, mighty, wondrous new world where justice will roll like a river. Let us never doubt the simple, infinite plenty of our own hearts. We’re doomed without it.
And you can share this with everyone you know and invite them to join us. This is how we save ourselves. It’s how we help America become what she might become.
It’s how we plant the seed of hope that only we can plant.