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Donald Trump Is an Affront to George Floyd's Memory

George Floyd protests

For George, Ahmaud, Breonna, and Tony, this racist president must be crushed in November.

In any other year during this time of year, we would be joyfully celebrating Pride Month. Now, don't get me wrong, there's still reason to be proud, but 2020 is only half done, and it feels like we have already been done in by a series of supercharged blasts that have shaken our world.

A year ago, I wrote about how utterly amazing Pride Month was, with the popping out of Pose, the pageantry of parades -- particularly World Pride -- and the peaking of Pete for president. It was the culmination of achievements that warranted confidence and carnival.

The first 10 days of June this year have been a complete turnabout to contempt, contemplation, and commencing change. We have done a 180 from last year, and as such, the remaining weeks of June -- and the remaining months of 2020, for that matter -- cannot be predicted or prescribed because there's just so much perplexity. Our thoughts and feelings are so jumbled, muddled, and messy. And so much anguish. But one thing is certain: George Floyd's death has rattled our country in a way no one would have foreseen, and we must use it to spur us into action.

The rupture that COVID-19 caused to our lives during the first six months has almost been toppled by the death of Floyd and its repercussions. So many ways to go here, but to start, the one true way to look at these past 10 days has to be that so many people, from so many backgrounds, from so many colors, races, and ethnicities came together, joined together, shouted together to say enough is enough. And demanded change.

As President Obama rightly pointed out, it's an encouraging sign that lots of young people and persons from so many varied circumstances have singularly raised their voice. When we come together, when we unite as the United States, when 73 percent of our country says racism is a problem and it needs to be fixed. And the American public support for Black Lives Matter increased by nearly as much as it had over the previous two years, according to The New York Times.

Maybe there is hope? Maybe we can make the necessary changes? Maybe people are rightfully, finally beginning to change their minds? And should we convince the rest to do the same?

Today, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley took the unprecedented step of apologizing to his forces for being part of the Trumps' Lafayette Square political operation. He had been photographed in his combat uniform walking with Donald Trump and others to the church where the president posed with a Bible after police had dispersed protesters. The general firmly disassociated himself and the military from Donald Trump's trickery.

Some others changed their minds in recent days, and it took the impact of Floyd's death for people in power to finally come clean about Donald Trump. Former Defense Secretary and five-star General Jim Mattis was joined by other military leaders and generals as well as one lone Republican senator, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and longtime conservative columnist George Will, who all said Donald Trump needs to go -- or that the American people need to wake up to the fact that our commander in chief is an ill-equipped, immature racist who seeks to divide us, and we need to take action and get rid of him. And they all agreed he has no right to order the military to quell the voices of constitutionally protected peaceful protesters.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was one of those peaceful protesters, long before the Floyd murder. Catering at the time to a president who was trying to warp Kaepernick's message, in which other players joined, the NFL withered, whined, and politicized. This divided NFL fans, including me -- I and many others thought the league's cowardice was pathetic. Then, because of Floyd's death and the country's reaction, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league was wrong and should have listened to the players' pleas.

And Crossfit CEO Greg Glassman was forced to resign after posting inexcusable tweets and making equally inexcusable comments in a Zoom conversation, not only about Floyd's death, but a conspiracy theory around coronavirus. His resignation was just the latest in the general public not tolerating any bigotry or hate.

Remember Cops and Gone With the Wind? The former is gone, and the latter will be presented with historical context about the horrors of slavery when it returns to HBO Max. That won't be the last we hear from the entertainment industry.

Too little, too late? Or are the dominos finally falling? Or maybe people are finally listening? Waking up to the fact that racism exists and its glaringly obvious at the top? It seems as if Floyd's death has started a trend. Are all of those who cared, cried, protested, and marched these past 15 days having an effect? Are all those who posted black squares on their social channels and vowed to really listen listening? Are all those who have seen what divided, bigoted leadership can do to this country finally speaking out? Are all those who were wrong and want to be right awakening in America?

We can only hope, but it appears that people who have a voice are listening to those who don't. Municipalities and their governments will -- and must -- change their laws and their norms to wipe out regulations that harm Black people in this country.

Sadly, we buried Floyd this week, and within 10 days of Floyd's death, states and municipalities have already started to act. Minneapolis has banned choke holds, all the cops who were involved with Floyd's death have been charged, Dallas has adopted a "duty to intervene" rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force, Los Angeles's mayor has proposed reducing the police department's operating budget, the New York State legislature this week began moving swiftly on police reform bills, and monuments celebrating Confederates are being removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.

And it's high time these reforms are happening. They better happen soon, and they better be right this time. This country cannot afford to see another black man being murdered by law enforcement. It could be ruinous. Discrimination has to end -- now!

And we need to get rid of the discrimination at the top of our government. The white generals, the white senator, and the white Republican columnist are right. We are being divided by a racist who seeks autocratic power, and we better wake up to that calamity before, again, it's too late. We cannot afford another four years of Grand Wizard Trump.

This is personal, and it's taken George Floyd's death for me to finally say enough to Donald Trump's supporters. I bit my tongue before, but now I cannot and will not accept anyone in my life anymore who supports this man. There can be no more middle ground. Wavering in between is what got us to this disastrous point in the first place.

Supporting Trump is an indication not of stupidity or naivete -- that's what I used to attribute it to -- but of unbridled bigotry. And it took Floyd's death to really, truly reveal -- and I mean vividly -- how utterly racist Donald Trump and his kin and klan are. We all knew he was, but during the Floyd mourning and protest period he might as well have just worn a white hood and burned a cross in front of the Martin Luther King memorial down the street from the White House.

We need to be bold here, like the protesters, and make sure all of our voices are heard. We are all tired of bias and tired of bigots. And we all need to make the same demands. Let's start taking steps to put pride -- this month and beyond -- back in our country, call out wrong when we see it, and vehemently call out those who support wrong.

It's not easy to reproach family, friends, and others in our lives, but if they are wrong, we must in a clear and concise voice let them know they have no choice with us anymore. What happened these past two weeks is that we are cutting out any and all middle ground. You are either racist or you're not. You are either for dramatic change or not. Because what has been occurring for the last 400 years, and especially for the last three and a half can't continue. There is no pride in that.

John Casey is a PR professional and an adjunct professor at Wagner College in New York City, and a frequent columnist fo The Advocate. Follow John on Twitter @johntcaseyjr.

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