Collapse? By Rabbi Baruch Cohon

Collapse?

During nightly riots kicked off by the death of one George Floyd in Minneapolis, some leaders in foreign countries spoke of the “collapse of the United States.”  Viewing news coverage of the disturbances, it could look that way.  Was it?

Frustrated by COVID19 restrictions, and in pain from resulting unemployment and bankruptcy, many Americans needed a good excuse to get out of the house and vent their anger. Seeing the TV video of a police officer killing a man he was arresting for allegedly passing counterfeit money was enough to start loud protests in the street – not just in Minneapolis but in cities throughout the country. 

Do “black lives matter?” Of course.  All lives matter.  Would George Floyd be alive today if he was white?  Maybe, maybe not.  Either way, his death at the hands of law enforcement was a crime.  Protests started immediately.

Marching in the protest crowd were demonstrators with a variety of causes.  Some were truly dedicated to justice for black Americans; others had quite different interests.  Political extremists like Antifa and Jihad used the protest movement for their own purposes – including vandalizing synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses in several cities.

Petty criminals grabbed the opportunity to join the night marchers and break into local stores to loot them for liquor and jewelry and drugs.

Violence and victimhood can look like national collapse.  But the America I know can recover from it.  G-d willing, medical scientists will yet cure coronavirus, law enforcement will implement firm standards, and our economy will once again lead the world to some prosperity.

And most important, we can all once and for all realize that whoever we are – black or white, Jewish or Latino, Asiatic or Hawaiian, Navajo or Eskimo — we are one nation. Significantly, in his memorial to George Floyd, his brother Terence called for our unity. 

Let’s all make whatever effort we can to reach that goal. 

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