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Last month (August 13) Guyanese-born world famous music icon Eddie Grant, through his legal counsel, Wallace E.J. Collins, dispatched a “cease and desist” letter to United States (U.S) President Donald Trump campaign team. According to Grant, the campaign has set his tune “Electric Avenue” to “play unflattering audio quotes from Biden.” The first stanza of this song goes:“Down in the street there is violence/And a lots of work to be done/No place to hang out our washing/And I can’t blame all on the sun, oh no” St in a real place in London, Songfacts.com advised the song “tells the story of a poor man who beholds the things in life he could never achieve.”
Those paying attention to U.S are aware that society is going through a reckoning on social justice in response to police violence towards the African community, particularly among the poor, giving rise to acceptance by black, white and others something has to be done to arrest the situation, in what is succinctly captured as “Black Lives Matter.” The question on sober minds is: When will police violence end and blacks ever be able to achieve similar treatment as their white counterparts in as much as the laws are applicable to all?
In the quest for police reform and justice, black, white, brown and native Americans have taken to the streets in protest actions. Unfortunately, forces with sinister agenda have infiltrated wrecking more violence and mayhem. President Trump’s supporters have joined these protests, in what can be described as counter-protest that have seen some retaliatory violence. Where Mr. Trump has accused Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden of fueling the violence, he is yet to condemn the violence.
In fact, Mr Trump sought to justify the police shooting of Jacob Blake in his back seven times by using a golf analogy that the police “choke.” He is yet to condemn his armed supporters engaging in violence even as the families of Blake and George Floyd (who police killed by kneeling on his neck) have condemned the violence and are calling for peaceful protests and justice.
Members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team have acknowledged the violence can help his re-election chance as the ‘law and order’ candidate. Mr. Trump and his surrogates are trafficking in this violence, on his watch, telling society a Democratic-led government will not preside over peace but chaos, lawlessness not law, in spite of repeated denouncement by Mr. Biden.
In an address on Monday, Mr. Biden could not be clearer in saying, “I want to make it absolutely clear, so I’m going to be very clear about all of this, rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It is lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites, destroys businesses, only hurts the working families that serve the community. It makes things worse across the board, not better.”
President Trump is still to match Mr. Biden’s full-throated denouncement. As Leader of the free world, his reactions in what is evidentially a volatile environment are puzzling and discomfiting. Around the world, many are scratching their heads at his responses.
It cannot help but be noticed in the polarised U.S political environment, Mr. Grant stands tall in refusing to be a pawn or facilitator to a campaign that sees opportunity in violence. He has taken the route of legal objection to his talent being used in a “controversial political campaign.” By doing this he has communicated to the world one exercises choice in using their skills/talent/voice to unite or divide, build or break, promote violence or justice, to follow or lead even when difficult or uncomfortable, and that the time is always right to do what is right. Ultimately, this is a judgement every man must make and Mr. Grant has made his.