We All Need to Look Ourselves in the Mirror If We Want to See Change in this Country

Forbes.com

Forbes.com

Josh Hobbs

In times of crisis, the American people have always had the ability to come together as one in order to become stronger. Whether it was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or Maria. Or even in times of great tragedy, like the recent passing of Kobe Bryant. Remember how long ago that feels. Even when tensions with the federal government were high, or when it seemed as though the whole country was more divided than ever, Americans always seemed able to find common ground and respect for one another in desperate times. But now, the American spirit, the love for our country and the passion to make ourselves better, was snapped and reached its lowest moment on May 25, 2020, when George Floyd’s life was slowly taken away as he pleaded for help. But none came.

By now, millions of people throughout the country and the world have seen the impact of George Floyd’s murder. It has been over a week since the first protests and riots began in Minneapolis. Heading into the second weekend of protests, we continue to see elevated numbers of protesters across the country with increases in military and national guard. While much of the protests over the last week have been peaceful, there have been a handful of efforts that have turned violent and have caused severe damage to public and private property.

And by the look of it, the movement only seems to be growing stronger. Celebrities across the country have all poured in support for the protests throughout their personal social media accounts, calling for change. From top-tier athletes such Lebron James, Patrick Mahomes and Mike Trout, to artists and actors such as John Boyega, Ariana Grande and Kendall Jenner, one thing is very clear. Many people are in agreement that country is in severe need of reform.

But haven’t we seen this same type of anger and rage before? As depressing as it is, George Floyd was not the first unarmed black man to be murdered by police in this country. Even just in the last decade, there have been protests for the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and the list goes on and on. Remarkably, in the year 2020 alone, we already have experienced the deaths of not only George Floyd, but also Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. How could this terrible trend keep occurring in the year 2020? Well, that’s exactly the question that protesters and hundreds of thousands of Americans are asking themselves. 

While some might believe that the movement comes in direct result of the recent murders of unarmed black citizens, they are sadly mistaken. In fact, this movement of protest and rage has been a long time coming. It started years ago, as has since been boiling and growing as more and more injustices have been dealt to minorities in this country. A then came the year 2020, the start of a new decade. What some hoped for as a time for change and equality, was met with circumstances that were beyond belief. A global pandemic. The death of Kobe Bryant. A federal government that has abandoned its citizens and has dedicated it’s services to elites of the country. It was too much. And then, the final nail in the coffin, George Floyd.

So how do we change? That’s the million dollar question. In my opinion, I think it’s quite simple. The truth is that America cannot improve unless all of its citizens look at themselves in the mirror, and ask themselves, ‘Are you happy with where the country is at’? If not, then we are already half way there on the trail towards progress. Admitting that there is a problem is first step towards making a difference. Whether it’s dealing with an alcoholic, or combating racism. The first step is exactly same. It starts by admitting that America is not the greatest country in the world. Nor is it even close. Countries all across the world have passed America in technology, education, equality, healthcare, social security, and list continues. Now is the time to say that enough is enough. 

Now, where we go after is a whole different conversation. One I, nor anyone else, has the proper answers too. But what we can all do right now, is take the first step. Whether that is voicing on social media the problems that the country faces, calling your local representatives about what you want to see happen in your government. Whatever it is, it needs to happen now. The American people need to start somewhere. And this process must include everyone. People from all races, all ethic backgrounds, all sexualities, etc. If we cannot come together, then there is truly no hope for America. But I would like to think that there is.