Obama on the Killing of George Floyd: “This Shouldn’t Be ‘Normal’ in 2020 America.”

“If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.”

Michael Sohn/AP

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As the nation reels and rebels over the killing of George Floyd under the knee of a Minnesota cop, former President Barack Obama has released a statement that echoes the anguish we’re all feeling: This shouldn’t feel typical by any stretch of the word. And yet, it keeps happening. 

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” the former president writes. “It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.” 

Obama also shared snippets of recent conversations he’s had with several friends over Floyd’s killing, quoting a “middle-aged African-American businessman” who wrote to the former president that ‘the knee on the neck’ is a metaphor for how the system so cavalierly holds black folks down, ignoring the cries for help.” And another friend Obama spoke with mentioned the sentiments in the song by 12-year-old Keedron Bryant that has since gone viral to express his frustration over situation. “The circumstances of my friend and Keedron may be different, but their anguish is the same. It’s shared by me and millions of others,” the president wrote.

Though the tone of Obama’s statement is one of anguish and frustration, he called on Minnesota officials to thoroughly investigate Floyd’s killing so that “justice is ultimately done.” Shortly after the president’s statement was released, Derek Chauvin, the police officer in the widely viewed video who had his knee on Floyd’s throat, was taken into custody.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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