Too many Americans remain willfully blind to coronavirus dangers

The lead paragraph to the Guardian’s latest report on coronavirus in the U.S. is sobering.

For Americans, coronavirus went from being a mysterious affliction that occurred in far-off lands to 1m confirmed cases on US soil within 14 weeks. Now, just six weeks later, the US has broken through the grim milestone of 2m positive tests for Covid-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

ZOOM does China’s bidding by blocking selected Pro-Human Rights customers‘ accounts

You can add ZOOM to the list of company’s that will talk the talk about free speech but then will cave to China’s demands about silencing free speech.

The Guardian has the details.

Three prominent human rights activists have accused Zoom of disrupting or shutting down their accounts because they were linked to events to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre or were to discuss China’s measures to exert control over Hong Kong. …

Zoom said in a statement that it “must comply with laws in the countries where we operate”. It said: “We regret that a few recent meetings with participants both inside and outside of China were negatively impacted and important conversations were disrupted.” 

Zoom added that it was not in the company’s power “to change the laws of governments opposed to free speech”. It said it was “committed to modifying its processes to further protect its users from those who wish to stifle their communications”.

Please stifle your laugh as you read that last sentence.

Has America turned a corner?

A seminal event.

An event that leads to substantial change.

Will George Floyd’s death be a seminal event?

Please understand, I’m not suggesting the murder of a Black man by a White cop is something to celebrate. Rather, I’m wondering if Floyd’s killing — perhaps most especially because of how indefensible it was — and the torrent of protests that followed it finally got the message across that something had to change.

All Americans knew there were deep (and, yes, racist) flaws within the political, social, legal, economic and educational system when it came to the lives of too many Black men, but maybe now more of us will act on what we know. Perhaps Floyd’s death will make more of us say “that’s enough.” Perhaps it’ll ensure we’ll channel our anger into positive action.

In the aftermath of Floyd’s murder, two prominent U.S. newspapers fired white men for how they handled an editorial and a headline. Multiple experienced military officials called out the president for his reckless and dangerous plans for handling the protestors. Statues honoring racist men have come tumbling down. NASCAR announced it would no longer allow the Confederate flag at its races.

These decisions are meaningful, but they come with an important caveat: If there’s insufficient bottom-up activity to continue the momentum of reforming police practices, outlining policies that will enhance economic growth in African-American communities, understanding the ingrained benefits White America has built up over more than 200 years and ending corrosive racist ideology, then in a few months’ time we’ll be back at proverbial square one.

Remember when Americans debated if the domestic terrorism at a Florida high school would finally be the impetus to change gun laws? Pockets of the country firmly believed that the raw passion of the school’s teenagers and their demands for change would lead to substantive gun legislation. However, the reactionaries within the NRA and the spine-lacking Republicans ensured that nothing at the federal level happened.

Will reactionaries, racists and wimps again win the day by, in effect, letting the clock run out on the memory of Floyd’s murder? Or will enough people speak out, protest, run for office, vote and be positive change agents within their communities?

I want to believe they will be. No, I want to believe we will be. If not us, who? If not now, when?