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Opinion | Let justice roll down as waters

“Fighting for justice shouldn’t be based on party affiliation. It should be the aspiration of every decent citizen.”

Statue of Justice

A jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

Alabama Republicans have so far remained silent.

This wordless response speaks to a party wrapped in the arms of Morpheus or worse gripped by wiles of Apate.

I do not believe that Alabama’s Republican leaders are racist; I know them. But they stick with the party line like a talking-points memo.

A video of Floyd’s death — captured on a cell phone by a 17-year-old bystander and posted on YouTube — put a face on the Black Lives Matter movement. It might be said that this is a historic moment when the weak were instruments to confound the mighty.

Is God watching us?

What has been the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature’s response to Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer and the subsequent protests?

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They have proposed a riot bill to make it easier to detain protesters. They have also pushed for harsher penalties for those who resist arrest or flee from law enforcement. Of course, some in the Legislature moved to add increased fines on communities who choose to remove Confederate monuments and even punish those who would disrespect those symbols.

Because there are good women and men in leadership positions in our state, I doubt these hateful bills will pass into law.

But when Republican leaders label BLM as “a symbol of hate” or a “Marxist Movement,” there is no room to reasonably discuss the issues that are being raised because BLM is marked as an enemy.

Those who seek social justice are not haters or Marxists or enemies. They are fighting for the very American ideal of liberty and justice for all. A party cannot claim the mantle of “law and order” and ignore justice.

To speak of law and order while denying justice is the parlance of dictators, tyrants and oppressors.

How did it come to be that the party of Lincoln is now widely seen as a party that seeks to multiply by division? How do we still not understand that a house divided cannot stand?

Fighting for justice shouldn’t be based on party affiliation; it should be the aspiration of every decent citizen, because history teaches us that injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.

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Remember, the only reason Floyd’s case ever went to trial was that Darnella Frazier filmed his murder and shared it on social media. Even then, it took protests to bring national attention to the killing.

The official police version of events was very different than what actually happened.

How many lies will be exposed, how many lives cut short before we cry with a unified voice; enough!

The country only became aware of the circumstances surrounding the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago after a prosecutor lied in court.

The nation’s policing problems will not go away with Chauvin’s convictions, and neither will the country heal from the wound of unequal justice until policymakers, voters and law enforcement admit there is a problem and work together to fix it.

Instead of finding new ways to punish, the Alabama Legislature needs to work to secure justice for every citizen.

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It is time to seek the way of the prophet Amos and “let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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