I don’t talk about politics much on this page because I talk on my facebook page. I don’t get much feedback because I don’t have much readership here. But every now and then I post something here and cross-post on my social media because this is a better presentation.
I’m not going to bother talking about how I’ve been following the BLM movement and all the events leading up to it. Whoever you are, reading this, have likely made up your mind about BLM and you aren’t going to change. BLM has been challenging a system of inequity and inequality for some time now. They have been ignored, swept aside and ridiculed for as long as they’ve been in public. I believe there are people who have been sitting on the sidelines and carefully avoiding making any choices about this situation in our nation. People who have too many associations with BLM that incline them away from empathizing with their message. But forget about BLM for a minute. BLM has been joined by so many people that no one can ignore it anymore. No one can really sit on the sidelines of opinion anymore. Because it’s gone beyond BLM.
What’s happening now is the next step: The system is trying to defend itself against the challenge.
Do I really believe that more people have come to care about BLM? No. I wish it were so because I believe in their message too, but the reality is that as BLM has protested, marched, spoke up and gone viral, people have realized that the system is rotten for everyone. And people have joined, slowly, over time, to join the protests because they can see that even just challenging the rotten core of the system results in havoc and death for everyone. Maybe people have woken up and realized that the system may be coming for them, maybe people have finally had a closer degree of separation from the people who are being gunned down. Maybe people saw one too many videos. Maybe people just heard one too many shots.
And the word needs to spread.
This is tragic. This is beyond tragic. This is alarms and sirens for our nation. This is past “warning shots”.
What has been happening for years and years is now to the point where people are done being “nice” about it and are now protesting in the streets in whatever manner will get the attention and keep the focus. Things have progressed to the point where even the protests have stopped being “nice” and people are starting to legitimately riot – burning buildings, trashing edifices, smashing businesses, even occasionally threatening other people.
I’m not going to tell you that’s all wrong. I’m not going to start pretending that cherry-picked quotes from MLK are applicable here. I’m not going to caution people to “go high” and “be the better person” or anything like that.
Because I can’t care about that anymore. We are way beyond that. There have been too many shots fired.
Don’t you see? It’s so horrific…. we can’t take it anymore. I read about Jacob Blake in Kenosha and my heart just shredded into pieces. I’ve been upset and angry and cried and argued and pleaded and screamed and I’m just so fucking exhausted now. And at this point, is it only Black people who are being gunned down by the police? No. But they are still the main targets. They are our martyrs and examples. They are the crucified, held up to warn the rest of us what will happen if we keep shouting against this nightmare. The police are still firing “warning shots” at us all. And those shots are still killing people. The sound of shots is supposed to scare us, keep us in check, make us cower and bow down to the people with uniforms and weapons. But it doesn’t matter if we do those things… they are still shredding our hearts with the sound of more shots. How many shots can you listen to before you break down and stop letting this happen? How many deaths can you stand?
What happened to this man, and all the people gunned down by police, is just beyond heinous; it’s offensive to everything we associate with being an American. Our justice system is a system that trumpets how “fair” it is supposed to be. How we give accused people the presumption of innocence and force the prosecution to prove guilt – we do not make the defense prove innocence. This is our system and we have reason to be immensely proud of it; in theory. Because this system is not being offered to anyone who isn’t White and Able, and Hetero and living their assigned gender from birth and walking around with citizenship papers. It’s not. And what’s almost as bad is that now, that same system is trying to raise its powerful fist to crush anyone who speaks out about it. And that goes against everything we SAY we believe as Americans. We have freedom to protest. We have not just a right, but an obligation to make our government – national or local – to listen to our grievances and address them. This is one of our many rights too. We have rights that other nations dream of, yet here we are, letting the authorities pay lip service to those rights and get away with murder. We raise up the words of our founding fathers (knowing many were slave-owners and rapists) because the ideals they touted, the fine words they uttered were the goals of our nation. Even though our founding fathers couldn’t *follow* those words, they still wanted to believe in them; they wanted to build a nation that followed those ideals.
And here we are.
All those people who are protesting, you look at them and what do you see? You see reprehensible folks who aren’t bowing down to the system? The system that perhaps protects YOU just fine?
I see people who have gone from sad and grieving to angry to rageful to outraged to despondent and so many other emotions… this is our country, our culture and we look around and see a system that is trying to break us, enslave us, censor us and if we don’t comply, they kill us. All the laws in the world won’t save us if the system behind those laws puts its boots on our necks and begins to press down. All the speeches in the world won’t help us when the sound of shots ring out again.
So when I look at those crowds, I don’t just see my fellow activists, fighting the good fight to get something changed, I see people who have cried, like I did, when they read just one more damned story about someone getting killed by the police. I see people who thought about their friends, their family, their online pals, people they care about and maybe even people they don’t know – getting caught under the boot of this system and having their lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye… in the sound of seven shots.