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A terrible beauty is born in the death of George Floyd by Ann Treacy
May 29, 2020, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis, St Paul

May 25, Minneapolis Police Officer Chauvin killed George Floyd, while three other officers did nothing. The circumstances are in debate (did Floyd resist arrest, did Floyd work with Chauvin, is there a criminal offense?!) but there are pictures and video of Chauvin kneeling on his neck until he appears lifeless. I have not heard that disputed.

These four men opened the door to hell for the Twin Cities community. As I type, rioters are in the Third Precinct; they are setting off fireworks and burning a police jacket left behind. Closer to my home in St Paul, I can hear helicopters, sirens and popping – maybe of guns. I’m lucky in that I don’t know for sure. I was at Midway Target earlier and saw a cat and mouse game of people getting closer to the cops until they drew their guns. But that was hours ago. I can’t find a livestream but I hear that Midway is burning. Earlier tonight Aine and I were at a peaceful protest downtown Minneapolis streaming for Women’s March MN. But it feels like maybe that was some kind of distraction.

The revolution will not be televised; it will be livestreamed.

I hope this is the birth of a terrible beauty. A terrible beauty is born is a line from WB Yeats used to describe the 1916 Easter Rising, when Ireland started a revolution that led to a free Republic of Ireland – a revolution from the British. The movement gained tremendous momentum after the British executed the Irish leaders of the weeklong rising. The deaths of those leaders was the turning point in public opinion. That’s a reminder to folks who wonder – have they gone too far? People asked the same thing of the Irish before 1916. The question is – have we pushed too hard?

Will this be the moment that brings change? I have been on the frontlines BUT on the off hours. I haven’t seen much in person. I’ve been thankful to the livestreamers. Everyone is there for their own reason. Many are looking for justice for George Floyd. Many are looking for systemic change – a reformation. Some are looking to incite violence to support or hinder change. I’m afraid for my city. And the only hope is that this brings the systemic change we need to make the Cities safer and better for everyone. To quote Paul Wellstone – we all do better when we all do better. And to misquote – we all burn when we all burn.

I will highlight a video from Chicago and 38th. Nia Wilson was registering voters in the middle of an angry but peaceful demonstration. It gives me hope!

I started writing this last night. I am no smarter today but I figured I would post it – before I head up to Midway for the community clean up.


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