John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


On Dragon, China, the Pandemic and, the Riots

Posted on June 1, 2020
The Dragon docked as it drifted across China.

The Dragon, of course, is the new spaceship, paid for by an American entrepreneur, designed by American engineers and piloted by an American crew.

It docked with the Space Station, the product of international collaboration, and amazingly still functional after all the decades it has been orbiting the Earth.

A wit tweeted about the great timing of those astronauts who left the troubles of the world behind.

A global pandemic.  A simmering Cold War between the United States and the country that originated the deadly virus.  Angry spasms of violence ransacking major and minor cities across the United States.

Apparently, satellites could see Minneapolis burning.

That’s not a good look for America.

Casey Kassem used to say, “Keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars.”

It’s all connected of course.  China.  The Pandemic.  The riots.

George Floyd and Derek Chauvin worked together at a bar as bouncers before George lost his job because of the pandemic.

Floyd drifted in and out of trouble with the law, but he was well-liked and did well when he was employed.

But like many of the 40 million people who are having trouble making ends meet, when you lose your job and run out of money, you end up making some poor choices.

Passing a counterfeit check is a poor choice.  But it doesn’t deserve a death sentence.

Most police officers, when confronted by dangerous circumstances, react violently.  Unless you are on the Thin Blue Line, you probably don’t really understand how you would react when confronted by somebody who is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than you are.

Chauvin had a history of reacting violently when confronted by danger.

Had there been no shutdown and had George Floyd still had his job, you could make the case that he would still be alive.  But you never know.

I betcha among the thousands of protesters who flooded America’s cities over the last three days, that most don’t have gainful employment.  That’s no criticism of them.

It’s hard to get a job during a global pandemic when the government purposefully closes down the economy.

As you may know, I have long warned about the harmful impact of this unprecedented government shutdown.

This has been a disaster, and it has been especially hard on the post-millennials, who can’t find a job, can’t get a date, and can’t get a life.

We all know now how frustrated these kids have been because we can see it in the streets of Washington D.C.  Yes, they are protesting against police brutality, but their anger isn’t just aimed at the police.  It is aimed at our society and what it has become.  And that anger is angrier than ever, because they have been cooped up in their homes, stripped of everything that brings them joy, kicked out of their jobs, and confronted with dire warnings of what will happen to their grandparents if they don’t practice proper social distancing.

They are mad as Hell and they have had enough.

I get it.

I guess the good news about the riots is that they weren’t primarily racial in nature.  White kids were just as badly-behaved as black kids, often even worse.

Unlike the riots that burned down Detroit in the 1960s, this wasn’t a race war.  Blacks weren’t on one side while whites were on the other.

This was a class war.  It was privileged white kids teaming up with social justice African Americans on one side against working-class cops and firefighters on the other.

Most everybody else watched the conflagration on television, mostly because there is nothing else to watch on tv.

The Michael Jordan series, Last Dance, is over, and baseball hasn’t started yet.  If it ever starts.

If I have one piece of advice to policymakers, it is this:  Open everything up.

Open up summer camps and schools.

Bring back baseball and basketball and football (especially football).

Open up bars and restaurants and hookah lounges.

Open up the Churches.  Let people back on cruise ships.  Open up the casinos.

Get people back to work.

Let people have fun again.  Let people pray again.  Let people be people again.

This doesn’t have to be a summer of doom and gloom.  It can be a summer of renewal, rebirth and revitalization.

Let’s gain inspiration by looking at the sky and seeing what we can do when we put our heads together.

It is no accident that the Dragon completed its mission as it drifted over China.

America is not dead yet.  We just have to move forward and put people back to work.