The recent NASA / Space X mission to the International Space Station was a melancholy moment for myself and likely for many others as well.
The image of the January 1986 Challenger liftoff came to mind as the countdown proceeded to the first manned American space flight from Cape Canaveral in eight years.
I crossed my fingers and held my breath for the first minute of the flight. After a beautiful liftoff, and in just a few minutes time, the contemporary space capsule with two astronauts adorned in what appeared to be Hugo Boss designed space suits was going 17,500 mph — WOW!
And then as the space ship became a mere speck in the Carolina blue sky, my thoughts came back to earth where the Covid 19 Pandemic and the growing number of violent protests in support of George Floyd welcomed me back.
And then this morning’s news of how our current POTUS berated the nation’s governors and described them as “weak” in their handling of the spreading violence, was in a stark contrast to how President Reagan sat in the Oval Office and appeared on TV screens all across the United States and led a Nation in need of leadership, in one of our country’s saddest moments.
I did not vote for Mr. Reagan, but I’ll always remember how compassionate he was in that four minute address to all of us who were trying to make sense of a horrible tragedy. His kind words and sense of empathy helped to heal the wounds we incurred that fateful day. It was what you would hope for and expect from the President of the United States of America in such a dire time in history.
This morning our current President showed no compassion and only anger towards the governors who are dealing with monumental issues in their respective states. In his heated diatribe to these politicians he called them fools and told them they need to, “dominate” this “war” to end it fast.
Not one mention or even a remote sense of what many of us, not just those of color, are thinking about how a black man could be murdered by the knee of a uniformed police officer. This conference call among the governors and the President was not about expressing a sense of loss or even an objective point of view of how such a tragedy could occur in Minneapolis or any other American city.
When I read the report of this morning’s conference call my initial reaction was disbelief, but then after a few moments, I understood the situation.
Our President does not have the moral compass to be able to walk in a black man’s shoes, let alone understand what it feels like to not be able to breathe with a police officer’s knee wedged firmly on the nape of his neck.
This is not to choose sides or say what’s right or wrong. But it is time for the person who earlier came out of his, our, house’s bunker to engage the governors in a demeaning fashion, to man up and recognize that the country — not just those who wear a red baseball hat — need a leader to help them cope with the atrocity that occurred one week ago and how we as a country move forward — together and jointly heal a wound so that the scar it leaves is not too deep.
G-d bless America.