I started this daily blogging last week as an exercise to help me get back in the writing groove during the “shelter at home” while unemployed reality of the pandemic. I had thought about writing about my photography, or my new sourdough breadmaking skills, along with an occasional political rant. Little did I realize just what was going to happen in the coming days.
You don’t have to look very far to see the coverage of the widespread protests around the country. In many ways it feels like a perfect storm of events, in a way that is summed up astutely by Trevor Noah.
I have read a lot of this coverage, but one particular thread on Twitter really summarized it best. Here is the first post of that thread; I encourage you to click on the tweet below to see the whole thread. Watch the videos, remembering that unless you are one of the protesters, the police in those videos represent you.
These people are protesting the brutality of their police forces. And how do those police respond? Watching these, it seems as though they think that even greater levels of brutality is the answer.
The thing that struck me reading and watching all this is numbers. The numbers of protesters vs. the numbers of police. Sure, the police have weapons, but all it would take is for the crowd mentality to be enraged enough for those people to fight back. I remember images of the Arab Spring almost a decade ago, when the citizens of those countries had had enough, and through sheer numbers overthrew several military-back dictators. If the protestors here in the US ever got similarly enraged, and decided to attack back, the police wouldn’t stand a chance. Sure, they would kill and wound many, but the sheer numbers of protestors would quickly overwhelm the police, and much blood would be spilled.
Much has been written about how we have no leader in the White House, but I see it differently. We do have a leader, but he is not leading us. He is leading the white supremacists, inciting them to assert themselves. We saw that when he encouraged the armed protests against the lockdown measures for COVID-19; we saw it back in Charlottesville with his “very fine people” comments. We see it in his embrace of strongman leaders around the world, and his disdain for the free press. They hear his words and are provoked to act.
Unfortunately, many of the police are also white supremacists, and are also hearing his words. They hear him say “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”, and take it as their marching orders to attack the protestors with ever-increasing levels of violence.
I don’t know what the next few days and weeks will hold. I have little hope for national leadership stepping up to calm things down; rather, I fear that they will continue to stir the pot. My only hope is that leaders begin to emerge from the people, and that these leaders can direct this energy into a positive direction. I saw one great example of this:
I hope that many others like Killer Mike come forward. And as I mentioned earlier, the police represent you. They do all of this in your name. Turning away from this with an “oh, I’m not political” is your cowardly way of saying that “I’m fine with all of this”.