Early Sunday morning—after another day of largely peaceful protests against the death of George Floyd, and another night of police violently targeting protesters—Joe Biden told the country “we are a nation furious at injustice.”
Posted to Medium, the new statement—his second since the death of Floyd—is another stunning contrast to our commander in chief, who has threatened that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Biden wrote:
I know that there are people all across this country who are suffering tonight. Suffering the loss of a loved one to intolerable circumstances, like the Floyd family, or to the virus that is still gripping our nation. Suffering economic hardships, whether due to COVID-19 or entrenched inequalities in our system. And I know that a grief that dark and deep may at times feel too heavy to bear.
And I also know that the only way to bear it is to turn all that anguish to purpose. So tonight, I ask all of America to join me — not in denying our pain or covering it over — but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.
It’s a nice sentiment. But is it enough?
Astead Herndon at the New York Times has a powerful piece out this morning which plainly argues that Biden’s calls for a return to “normalcy” won’t be enough to truly address the concerns of Black Americans: “The former vice president, one of the Senate architects of the modern criminal justice system, cannot confront racism without addressing systemic inequalities, and he cannot address systemic inequalities by simply returning to a pre-Trump America.”
“Our needs aren’t moderate,” Jesse Jackson tells Astead. “The absence of Trump is not enough.”
As you try to process what’s happening today, it’s worth reading Biden’s statement. But then be sure to read the full NYT story as well.