Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday June 2, 2020
God Bless, and please help, our friend America
It was Justin Trudeau’s late father who, in 1969, coined the best description ever of what it’s like living next door to the United States. “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt,” he said in a speech.
Pierre Trudeau probably couldn’t have envisioned what is happening in America right now. Already weak and dazed thanks to poor stewardship, the elephant has become very sick over the past week. It is, in fact, convulsing. Its future is far from certain.
It’s hard to watch. Even those of us who don’t care for many aspects of America — particularly Donald Trump’s America — feel sorrow and some trepidation.
The immediate crisis is the result of yet another unarmed black man being killed by white police. This time it started in Minneapolis. This time the black man, whose name was George Floyd, died after a cop knelt on his neck for just under nine minutes, while other officers stood by and watched. Floyd’s crime, apparently, was resisting arrest and acting belligerent, quite possibly under the influence. The cop who knelt on Floyd’s neck was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. And he was fired. Three other officers have been dismissed but have not yet been charged.
The charged former officer has previously been involved in the fatal shooting of another suspect, and was the subject of 17 complaints during his two-decade police career.
The killing, caught on multiple videos, quickly went monstrously viral. And then all hell broke loose, and continues to do so, as recently as last night. Some demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia, Pa., others set fires near the White House and faced tear gas and rubber bullets in Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Ga., and other cities. So far, deaths have been recorded in Kentucky, Detroit, Mich., and Minneapolis. Concerns have been raised about looters and vandals taking advantage of the protests.
It has been bad before when police kill unarmed black people. Tamir Rice was playing in a park. Eric Garner had just broken up a fight. Ezell Ford was walking in his neighbourhood. Philando Castile was driving home from dinner with his girlfriend. Dominique Clayton and Breonna Taylor were sleeping in their beds. But this is the worst in a very long time. Black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.
At times like this, you look to your elected leaders as a stabilizing force. The mayor of Minneapolis and the state governor have been trying. Not Donald Trump though. Rather than try to instill calm and call for unity, Trump went off on state governors during a video conference about the widespread violence. He told them to aggressively target violent protesters. He said “You have to dominate or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks…” He ordered them to seek “retribution”. He counselled aggression, telling the governors “You don’t have to be too careful.” He said of the violence: “It’s a movement, if you don’t put it down it will get worse and worse … The only time its successful is when you’re weak and most of you are weak.”
Presumably, Trump was referring to Antifa, the violence left-wing protest group. It has certainly been active and no doubt is responsible for some of the violence, but the wave is much bigger than that.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2020
Barack Obama, by contrast, condemned the violence and called for the protesters to come together for peaceful protest and change. Of course, Obama is not in the White House. Trump is. God bless, and help, America. (Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
USA, White House, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, quote, BlackLivesMatter, racism, Donald Trump, white nationalism, bigotry
Letter to the Editor, Hamilton Spectator, Friday June 5, 2020
June 2 editorial cartoon said it all
Thank you Graeme MacKay for this cartoon (Kennedy’s ghost visiting Donald Trump)! It says it all. As someone who was a teenager when Martin Luther King, President Kennedy and then his brother Bobby were assassinated, I was in shock and devastated. The closest the U.S. ever came again to being in that position was when Barack Obama became president. Now we watch and listen to the rhetoric of the most disgusting president ever. Everything presidents Lincoln, Kennedy and Obama, as well as Sen. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, stood for are ignored by today’s “leader.” The election cannot come fast enough.