2020 has been a banner year for upheaval, and in order to fully excise ourselves from the corruption that has plagued our systems for too long, we must analyze what kind of society we want to live in. A serious examination of how our society is set up must be required before any real change can be done. Recognizing that it can be hard to navigate through all the rancor and destruction and come out the other side with a clear picture of how society should function, predictably the thrust of what’s required of us has been cast aside in recent weeks by bad faith actors protecting incumbent power. In fact, I’d wager the only thing that’s become clear in recent months is that whatever vision we come up with, this is not it.
It was only a few short months ago that George Floyd was murdered by cops in Minneapolis, an event that ignited protests against systemic racism in all of its forms across the globe. People, myself included, perhaps due to privileged naiveté, declared that this time was different, announcing that George’s tragic death had lit the spark that would engender real change. Movement would finally happen in a serious way on police reform, and systemic racism would finally be seriously addressed. Little did we know that the rot that has been there since the beginning of our founding goes much, much deeper than we originally thought.
Police are still killing people, scapegoating protesters, and exacerbating violence. The media is complicit too, perennially afraid to call out Republicans with the force that’s so desperately needed and instead choosing to focus on acceptable forms of protest of which we still haven’t found any that satisfy the ever-moving goal posts. Across all of this, there has been a lack of willingness to examine the root causes of these protests and an abysmal lack of courage on the part of our lawmakers to help fix it. Let’s be clear the looting and burning of buildings and businesses is a by-product of deeper issues, ones that society has refused to confront up until now. And day by day, those issues are becoming more and more obscured under the weight of “violence in our cities” and the specter of Antifa.
In the wake of all of this, several uninspiring arguments have cropped up that range from being wholly unhelpful to outright dangerous, and in order to right the ship, each of these arguments need to be shot down completely. These run the gamut from conditioning the solutions offered by protestors to scapegoating and blaming them to even perpetrating violence against them. These arguments are made by bad-faith actors who have everything to lose should the protesters’ arguments break through. They add nothing but smoke, obfuscating the political climate in the hopes of tiring out sympathetic supporters.
1) I support the protests but I don’t support the looting and burning of buildings.
My first question would be to ask why is the whole Black Lives Matter movement automatically tarred with the looting and rioting brush but whenever a policemen is found in the wrong, it’s the result of a “few bad apples?” Why is it hard for you to take the demands of BLM seriously when looting and rioting occurs but it’s practically muscle memory to give the policeman the benefit of the doubt?
This is a common argument that crops up in a variety of forms throughout the larger discourse that always relies on pitting black lives against law enforcement. Why was the first thing the New York Post dug up after the shooting of Jacob Blake was his criminal past while the first picture they posted after Kyle Rittenhouse murdered two people and maimed a third was a picture of him cleaning graffiti?
I’ve been reading Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, a book that should be required in schools across the country, and in it, he talks about the concept of “individualizing White negativity and generalizing Black negativity.” Kendi talks about this concept in the context of events that are occurring in 1600s, over four centuries ago. It’s this idea that provides a foundation for racism in all its forms. Sadly, it’s a concept that still exists today even for liberals who regularly espouse their wokeness, and governments that claim to be on the right side of history.
We see Black failure as representative of a group while police failure as individualistic. In the end, looting and burning by a few does not delegitimize the thousands upon thousands of peaceful protestors who are advocating for change. Society must do some deep reflection if we choose to let it.
2) Police are only mobilizing to respond to violence.
Well, one must only scroll through Twitter to see reams of video evidence to the contrary. Police regularly antagonize and incite violence against peaceful protestors. Police have been caught on tape beating protestors, tasering them repeatedly, falsifying evidence, shooting people unprovoked with rubber bullets, offering water to vigilantes, kidnapping citizens in unmarked vehicles, and putting people in a coma.
So why do they continue to get a pass for their part in all of this? The answer is because they are generally perceived as the arbiters of law and order and thus have a monopoly on violence. It seems like a simple concept. We’ve empowered police with the right to be violent in order to maintain order. Upon further analyses though, this view is troubling at best. How can police be responsible for order when they are the ones who ignite and exacerbate disorder?
None of this would be happening if they hadn’t murdered George Floyd and the countless other black men and women that came before him. None of this would’ve happened if Breonna Taylor was still alive. None of this would be happening if they hadn’t murdered Jacob Blake. The two people Kyle Rittenhouse murdered in Kenosha would still be alive, and yet the police chief has the gall to blame the protesters who got shot instead of the person who did the shooting.
3) This is life under Democrats
I’m ever amazed at the Republican’s capacity for victimhood despite the immense power they hold. What does that say about your party if after two years of holding both houses of Congress and the Presidency and two years of holding the Senate and the presidency, the Democrats are still supposedly able to thwart you at every turn. It means Republicans are bad at governing. That’s what it means.
Everything is the Democrat’s fault under the Trump administration. For those of us living in reality, we wish we could give the Democrats as much credit as the Republicans do. It comes down to the simple fact that despite having control over massive amounts of power, they can’t even accomplish the basic tenants of maintaining basic order. Since that’s clearly the case, they should be booted out.
Joe Biden isn’t president. Trump is. The buck stops with him, and if one thing is true over these past four years, he’s proven how weak the Republican party is. This isn’t life under Democrats. This is life under Trump. Those businesses that were destroyed is the fault of Trump. No one else. If we’re honest with ourselves, why in the world would this chaos be alleviated by electing him again?
It won’t. It’ll only get worse.