Many people confuse protesting with looting. Most protesters are not looters, merely peaceful Americans and others who would like to live in a better world where all people are equal. Looters and protesters have been confused one from the other because some looters took advantage of the circumstances when activists were protesting after George Floyd was murdered in Minnesota in May 2020. Undoubtedly, most protesters care about helping others comprehend their plight. They are correct when they request that police not abuse or kill innocent citizens. Besides, people who have been accused of a crime have a right to be heard and to have a fair trial.
In some cases, racists injected themselves into the protests because they hoped to make the peaceful demonstrators look like arsonists and vandals, one reason why many peaceable Americans were afraid to join the protests. They fear being set up and accused of having broken windows or having hurt others. At the same time, many journalists are afraid to cover the protests, knowing that numerous have been injured in the process, either by police, by violent intruders, or by accident. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of the State of New York, was right to suggest that protesters should now note down on paper what it is that they would like to change and make efforts to change laws through the legal process.
The author of this article, a former student of art, believes that destroying sculptures and art to protest against the ‘Old South’ (that existed before the American Civil War) could be considered a crime. If protesters do not want such sculptures to be on display, they might ask authorities to remove them, placing them in history museums. Otherwise, opponents of the sculptures could ask to display educational signage nearby, signs which explain why they believe the sculptures are objectionable. Another option would be to display new sculptures of African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, and other diverse people nearby with their histories. Such diverse sculptures would educate the public and tourists about the beauty of all races. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Langston Hughs, and W.E.B. Du Bois were famous Americans that could be depicted among the new sculptures. Although the ancient Romans were not always fair and just, their ancient sculptures have not been demolished. The same could be said of the ancient Egyptians who built pyramids, but despite the misery and distress of those slaves who built the pyramids, people still study them because it is crucial not to ignore history.
Private versus Public Education
American Citizens (2020) are expected to save around 150k for each child to pay for private university education in the United States. Even public education can cost as much as 90K for four years at university. That being said, society could benefit from affordable, if not free, education for all willing learners. Some Americans think public schools should be privatised, but that would make it more difficult for commendable and gifted students to have access to fundamental knowledge. Without a doubt, young people who have access to education will repay the community by making this world a safer place in which to live, possibly by solving many of the problems that now face humanity. How gloomy it would be to deny a curious mind an appropriate top-notch education! Perhaps providing everyone with an excellent education and knowledge about people who have been represented in sculptures, no matter how disputed, is more satisfying than destroying art that represents history.
It is exciting that Ed X, Future Learn, Udemy and others offer massive online open courses (MOOC) for anyone who would like to learn more about a variety of topics. Nevertheless, many people are gaining knowledge without access to proper university degrees. Being an autodidact is admirable, but people need access to valid university degrees that enable them to accomplish their goals, aiming to contribute to the greater good.
Food and the Safety Net
The majority of Americans do not have a safety net when they lose their jobs. Without a safety net, they can not purchase enough food or find a place to stay when they lose their employment, develop health problems or other psychological difficulties. Maybe it is easier to live in one’s automobile in the United States than it is to live in a car in Europe, where people are required to declare their whereabouts to the police who then inspect their homes. Undeniably, Americans are freer to get into their cars to travel far away, to another state where they can find new jobs. Still, not knowing where one will sleep at night remains daunting and happens to people of all ages and backgrounds. Many Americans go to churches to ask for food for their families. People feel bad and even humiliated when they have to ask strangers for sustenance, even worse when their families say ‘no’ to their supplications. Often, free food is not fresh and comes in cans or is frozen. Those who ask for this much-needed help feel pressured to change their religion or belief system in order to attain subsistence. Hence, it might be better for them to get help directly from the government. Unfortunately, getting the government’s help is easier said than done in a heartless world run by lobbies.
Barack Obama tried to reform healthcare. To some extent, he was successful, but he did not take it far enough. Although he prevented insurance companies from denying people healthcare due to pre-existing conditions, he did not create universal healthcare for all, including care for those who have lost their jobs. If healthcare were universal, this would mean that all poor people without jobs could receive assistance. No one should have to fret about not being cared for, but numerous Americans were afraid to go to the hospital for help as they understood a cure for COVID-19 could cost them more than thirty thousand dollars. Lives were lost for fear of having to pay overwhelming hospital bills. The COVID-19 emergency has taught us that it is mistaken not to care for everyone when diseases spread to others if they are not cured.
Still today, unemployed people and people with psychological disabilities often remain without a roof at night through no fault of their own. Some of them do not even have cars to sleep in! Indeed, a wealthy country like the United States could find safe shelters for these people, whether or not they be alone or with their families. A teenager without a home does not know where he can go to school. (In one county in Georgia, back in 2004, high school teachers had to request to permit a homeless teenager to go to their school!)
Furthermore, runaway teenagers and abused women need safe shelters with counselling. If policing is to be improved, police could help homeless people find shelter as it would undoubtedly decrease crime. Homeless people might also be provided with addresses that they could use to receive their voter registration forms so that they no longer have difficulty voting for change. No doubt, America must increase its standards and live up to the dreams of the founders who sought decent lives for its citizens.
For many reasons, people remain without jobs through no fault of their own. In many cases, robots and artificial intelligence have taken their jobs. Technology was supposed to make life easier so that people could work fewer hours per week and share jobs. One solution to this problem might be job-sharing or making twenty hours a full-time workweek, permitting those people without jobs to work. Most people feel much better about themselves when they contribute to society through meaningful and exciting work. Frequently, people have to work too much for pay that barely permits them to survive while others can not find any work, as much as they would like to have it-cooperatives (community-owned businesses will conceivably help solve this problem.
Countless Americans have lost faith in the police, although not all police are corrupt. Good and bad people are to be found in every profession, and one bad apple does not ruin the whole basket. Many experts believe that police records showing police infractions should become public knowledge. Perhaps sharing such information will be useful to determine who is fit to police the streets; society will be able to weed out the corrupt cops while holding the good ones to a high standard. Furthermore, the educational curriculum of the police can be modified to improve training, focusing on more humanistic service for the good of society. A police officer needs continuous training throughout his or her career so as to be benevolent. Since it is clear that America has systemic problems, it is time to work together to fulfil the dreams of the founding fathers who aimed high for peace and liberty for all, regardless of race or creed.