She addressed the riotous masses like Beowulf’s angry mother. The question is, however, will the message fall on deaf ears?
The biggest answer to that question is predicated on how many of these rioters are not paid for and how many are.
On Friday, a press briefing involving Atlanta rapper “Killer Mike” and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms took center stage. “Killer Mike” wore a “Kill Your Masters” t-shirt, an unfortunate choice that will likely bury his important message to CNN to stop stoking division.
President Trump needs to choose his words better at times, and clearly activists need to monitor their wardrobe choices when making peace-inspired speeches.
The true star of the show was Mayor Bottoms. She was scathing in her remarks, holding nothing back in her attempts to chop down this growing enemy.
“It’s enough,” the mayor said during a Friday press conference. “We are all angry. This hurts. This hurts everybody in this room. But what are you changing by tearing up a city? You’ve lost all credibility now. This is not how we change America. This is not how we change the world.”
The mayor made the point so many Americans always arrive at when these dramas play out like this: Such violence and destruction make any noble purpose null and void. It also makes Americans originally inclined to honor the memory of George Floyd forget, not because of race, but because of basic human nature: There was no time to grieve his death or have a constructive conversation; instead, immediately, there was a new story, a new fear on the heels of COVID, and the latest terrorism on our soil to wrap their heads around.
“You’ve lost all credibility now,” she said. “This is not how we change America. This is not how we change the world.
“You are disgracing our city, you are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home! Go home!
“You’re not gonna out-concern me and out-care about where we are in America. I pray over my children each and every day. So what I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta.… When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn’t do this to our city. This city, that has had a history of black mayors and black police chiefs, and people who care about this city…if you care about this city, then go home.
“You’re not honoring a legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr and the civil rights movement. You’re not protesting anything running out with brown liquor in your hands, breaking windows in this city.… You’re throwing knives at our police officers. You’re burning cars.… This is not the legacy of civil rights in America. This is chaos, and we’re buying into it. This won’t change anything. We’re no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man. We’re talking about how you’re burning police cars on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.”
She also pointed out that the destruction raging in our cities is not “protesting,” that these criminals are only wiping out essential small businesses for the economy, many of them owned by black Americans.
Keisha Lance Bottoms was a mayor on Friday. She was also an angry mama. Her words clearly didn’t resonate across the country this past weekend, but hopefully, with persistence, they soon will. But sadly, if most of these rioters are not in fact locals, but instead are paid plants as this multi-city drama seems to entail, it may very well be that the wrong people are listening.