Former President Barack Obama is doing what what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ought to be doing but has failed to do so, in denouncing the demonstrators who have engaged in violent behavior, rioting, and looting in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer, stating this sort of activity undermines the larger cause.
Obama wrote a piece that he then published on Medium, calling out the folks responsible for burning down businesses and causing chaos for detracting from individuals who want to see legitimate change.
“The small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause,” the former president wrote.
Obama then went on to recall seeing a video featuring an older black woman who was crying due to the only grocery store in her neighborhood being vandalized, drawing attention to the fact that the consequences of this kind of destruction are often felt by entire communities, especially those in need.
Here’s more from The Washington Examiner:
“If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves,” Obama wrote.
“If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals,” he said.
The former president also told individuals who are wanting to see changes made to the justice system — and the police — to start being more involved in local politics and elections, where real changes can occur.
This is actually a good point. Too many of us on both sides of the political spectrum spend time focused on national politics to the neglect of what’s happening in our own backyards. If we really want to shift the direction of the country, we need to start with ourselves, then branch out to our communities.