Novelists with their imaginative musings have a way of stamping their age with an unforgettable depiction. In “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens memorialized the French Revolution with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The real world is less fanciful, and regarding the current era, it may simply be said that these are dangerous times. If there was ever a moment — this is it — to remain mindful that beneath the rainbow of skin colors, we all bleed red.
Social media, of which Big News, sadly, is simply a subset, revels in the chaos, feeds on motion and emotion that swarms of impassioned protesters display. Civilized behavior has been rubbed raw during the past pandemic year as Americans have watched in horror as the China-sourced virus has claimed the lives of more than 566,000 of their fellow citizens and 3 million across the globe. Initially assured that no one was to blame but Mother Nature’s Chinese twin, even the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admits a mishap at a Wuhan virology lab is no conspiracy theory.
Still, with a 2020 Pew Research Center survey finding 31 percent of Asian-Americans have experienced discrimination during the pandemic, it’s important to remember fault lies with individuals far away, not Asian neighbors who abandoned their native lands because they, too, cherish the American dream.
Americans are also making the mistake of watching the news in Black and White. Police body-cam footage shows a 20-year-old, Black Minnesota resident resisting arrest during a traffic stop and fatally shot as he speeds away. A White female officer reportedly grabbed her service weapon rather than the intended Taser. Perpetually angry Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan tweets the shooting “wasn’t an accident,” and an apparent tragic mistake is crammed into another “White cop hunts Black man” narrative. Crowds riot, responding cops are stoned, and local businesses are looted.
The Minnesota mayhem may be simply a warmup for the pending verdict in the Chauvin trial over George Floyd’s death, which a Minneapolis jury could hand down any day. Americans demonstrated by the millions last summer when the ill-fated Black man died under the knee of a White police officer. At least 14 persons died in the violence and property damage reached $2 billion. Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists have vowed a repeat performance if now-former Officer Derek Chauvin is not found guilty of second-degree murder.
Egged on by Big News playing on untethered emotions, the tragic events of the past year are pushing citizens toward a race-based brink. Obsession over skin color and ethnicity make these times dangerous, but wise Americans will swipe away from their “smart” devices the images of strife and lock their gaze on the hue of their shared humanity. As it is written, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”