It has been nearly impossible to watch TV the past few days without seeing violent protests around the country. But not here. Yes, we have had protests, but they have been peaceful and well covered by the media.
Some will say the media has blown everything out of proportion, but not here. Still, we need media to tell us what is happening in our world and whether we should care. Without media we have China, where its citizens do not know the ruthlessness and unfairness of their own government (or the origin of coronavirus for that matter). If our media shows us where we have failed as a society to practice the ideals we espouse and that exposure leads to substantive change, then it has done its job. An example in this case is the quick arrest and murder charge against the Minneapolis officer whose action caused the death of George Floyd, all because of intense media coverage.
While our county had a long history of racial injustice, that is no longer the case. But it was exposure by the media that helped force change (read this post). Today, some of the most popular and well known local folks are sheriff’s deputies and police officers. Because of that relationship, local protests have been calm and constructive, unlike what we see on television. This is not to say everything is perfect here, but it appears we are well ahead of the rest.
I remember the violent and destructive national protests in 1968 to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. The primary difference between then and this past week is that in almost all cases, there are more white faces than black in the crowds of protesters. It is not only minorities reacting to racial injustice, it is American society. Where these protests will lead is anyone’s guess, but we can only hope it leads to what we have witnessed right here in Indian River County over the weekend.