Notes From an Extreme Centrist – The American Tragedy: ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts’
One-hundred thousand dead and still counting; 40,000 plus filing for unemployment and still counting; another unarmed black man brutalized and murdered by a cop caught on video. Are we still counting that, too? The pandemic has exposed the inequities in America in income, childcare, healthcare, education, housing, policing and so much more. How much of these inequities are the products of racial biases and how much on income and education? Honestly, I don’t know and doubt anyone really does. What we do know is that these tragic realities impact communities of color to a much larger degree than they do affluent white communities.
On March 3, 1991 America saw, captured on live video, the brutal beating of Rodney King by four L.A. police officers. Almost 30 years later, George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer, with three other officers looking on, was captured on video. In those decades we have seen reforms in many jurisdictions in police training and recruitment, police body cams introduced, community policing, an increase in minority representation within the ranks of police leadership and, we pray, racial attitudes within the majority culture. Yet, at least from the perspective of the street, not much has changed. A black man stopped by police in America is still at a much greater risk of being brutalized in that encounter than a white man.
Enter our president, the same man who built his political career on the Birther Conspiracy, an idea that combined conspiracy theory politics and racism into the same toxic brew. But he’s president now – president of all Americans. In the same week, faced with 100,000 dead and the murder of George Floyd, the only news story that broke through the pandemic to capture America’s attention, what is his first instinct as president?
- To spread and double down on another blatantly false conspiracy theory aimed at someone he views as a political enemy
- To fight a Twitter war with Twitter
- To pour gas on the flames of the anger generated by Mr. Floyd’s murder by evoking the violent threats from an earlier era in the nation’s dark racial past
Sure, once caught in yet another dog whistle, he back-tracked, attempting to cover his derriere. That’s what he always does. Plausible deniability is Trumps’ MO.
Whether you believe him or not isn’t as important as whether this is the kind of man you want as our president.
The American tragedy is that the looters and vandals are convincing lots of Americans that they do!