Where's the leadership?

added by Craig Steel
Protest man with fist raised

The tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Police in Minneapolis last week has reminded us yet again of the need for leadership.

As protests raged across the US for a third straight night, the ‘united’ states of America looked to the rest of the world to be a nation divided.

Regrettably, Donald Trump – the 45th President of the United States – has not only been absent during the riots, his dislike of those who vote for the other side is adding fuel to the fire.

Although all of the officers involved in Floyd’s death are complicit, policing in the US has become a nightmare because of the moronic gun laws that allow people the right to bear arms and because of the underlying tensions that still abound.

Despite the fact that every situation officers are called to or encounter could lead to guns being drawn, Floyd should have expected more. Not because he appears to have lived his life as a peaceful god-fearing man, nor because he is black, but because he is a human being.

This being the case, how, might we ask, is the US going to navigate it’s way out of the plight and desperation so many across the country feel when the President himself sees those who vote against him as enemies of the state?  

The answer - while currently elusive - is simple. It lies in leadership. Not manipulative partisanship like we are seeing play out the world over but intelligent bipartisanship that’s focused on delivering better outcomes for citizens.

Unless the destruction happening across the US is seen as a consequence of a lack of leadership, the likelihood of a better future for the majority of Americans is off.


BLM Protests at home

As a nation that’s had its history of racial unjust, we not only feel for those who are discriminated against abroad, we are conscious of the hardship many continue to face here at home.

It is without question a tragedy to see the aftermath of Floyd’s killing play out on streets across the US. However, what we cannot do is assume an aspiration to head down the same path exists within the political elite in this country.  

While it is true Government agencies including the Police in New Zealand don’t always get it right, we need to support their efforts to find new and better ways to improve outcomes for both Maori and Pacific people alike.

However, the fact those who sympathise with the BLM movement took it upon themselves to organise protests during the current lockdown is not only a blatant disregard for the price New Zealanders of all ethnicities have paid to try and stamp out the virus from our shores, it is the very behaviour that undermines the plight of those they say they are there to support.

In other words, the lack of leadership shown by those orchestrating the protests in New Zealand is every bit as perplexing as the lack of leadership blacks in America are up against.


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