Saturday, May 30, 2020

Fighting the Good Fight

The problem with protesting or "rioting," as it often gets labeled, is that no matter how just the cause, it almost always leads to violence, and fascists aren't known for fighting fairly. Just ask anyone who witnessed the events at Kent State or Jackson State in May 1970. My fear is that something similar, or worse, is going to happen next. I fully support the cause of the demonstrators, and I mean the real activists, not the right wing agitators.

Before I continue, I think it's important for me to say, no matter how obvious you think it might be: No one deserves to die like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or any of the countless others before them. No one. They were murdered.

That's why there is a lot of anger and resentment from their communities, and the countless others, and why it is completely justified. It's not like these men and women that keep getting shot, beaten, strangled, or whatever, by state-sanctioned "officers of the peace" want to be martyrs. I am sure they would have much preferred to keep on living their lives, but unfortunately, they did not get that choice.

The purpose of the police, and the military, and indeed the entire government at all levels, is to act on behalf of the people and protect the social contract, which guarantees the rights of all citizens, not just a select few billionaires. There shouldn't be varying levels of rights for you depending on who you are, how much money you have, or what you look like, but that is the way it seems to work.

It is my understanding that the Defund the Police movement intends to do just that, not to eliminate the police, but to transform the forces in all communities to perform this intended function of acting on behalf of the people and not to act as a standing army as they seem to be becoming with all of the military weapons and body armor and whatnot, to help the good officers weed out the bad ones, and to make sure the bad ones are held responsible for the bad things that they do. Police should be representative of the communities where they serve and should be protecting them and not putting them in more danger, but unfortunately, for some people, that is exactly what police do, and you have to wonder, if it's not their race, then what is it that connects them?

Further, how many more people have to die before real reform will actually happen? Everyone deserves the same rights, which according to the Declaration of Independence, are inalienable. Of course, at the time that was written, many of the founding fathers only included white, landowning men in that statement, but, you know... That's a detail that even the most well-intentioned among us often overlook.

When I see people complaining about the "rioters" especially poor white people (who have been victimized plenty throughout the centuries--just ask the Irish) I know, for most of them, it's because they are missing the point. Not that ignorance is really excusable anymore due to technology, but... A lot of the willfulness of their ignorance stems from the propaganda they have been force-fed for decades to distrust academic institutions, the humanities, and the news media. In order to truly change those who are able to be changed, we first need to unplug them all from the umbilical of this propaganda machine and dismantle it once piece at a time.

The people complaining about the protesters who aren't missing the point, those folks constantly speaking in dog whistles and coded language, who seek to keep stirring the pot and distracting everyone from what's really going on, those are the people who need to be revealed to the public, who need to be prevented from causing the harm they are wreaking on our society.

At least (at least among my peers and the people I'm connected with through social media) most agree that the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were wrong, so that gives me a little hope. Not much, but a little. That said, there is still a long, long way to go.

The problem with that is it might be too late.

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