A greater society…
Posted September 2, 2015on:
Everyone is busy. We only have so much time. IMHO, we all use shorthand to communicate. If the time available doesn’t afford a thorough explanation, it is understanding that is shortchanged. There are plenty of examples.
These days when someone says “voting rights,” top of the mind automatically associates voter identification laws. In reality, voting rights also refers to extended voting hours, absentee balloting issues, registration, weekend voting, and a host of other topics that have been subsumed into “voting rights”.
The same is true for Planned Parenthood. Top of the mind associates the organization with abortion when that is barely three percent of the services it provides to women, most notably poor women without a secondary source of reproductive health care.
Acorn, community organizing, election finance, Obamacare, entitlements are all topics that are shorthand capstones for massively intricate webs of complexity.
We “libruls” often unwittingly fall into this ruse. It is not a sin of commission, but one of convenience. Unwittingly, we are assisting those who are enemies of progressive issues. This shorthand vocabulary is about to go into overdrive as we wend our way into 2016.
An issue that is sure to be saddled by this abbreviated understanding is the Black Lives Matter movement. Originally, the BLM movement was and still is a concerted effort to draw attention to the killing of young men of color, but BLM is much more. Its purpose is to draw attention to institutionalized prejudice, to de facto bigotry, to unprecedented incarceration rates, to overly aggressive policing and tactics in disadvantaged neighborhoods, to looking beyond the mere economic effects of discrimination, to rebuilding neighborhoods and voting empowerment. While I don’t understand the BLM strategy of attacking those sympathetic with its policy positions, those decisions seem to be local ones and the overall motivations seem to be pure.
The simplistic rejoinder of, “All lives matter,” while true, is a backhanded effort to undermine the effort by subtly implying racist overtones. BLM has not once implied that one set of lives is superior to another. It is those who seek to impugn BLM who conflate the two slogans – and everyone readily overlooks those six words, with four of the words being the same, are merely slogans.
These facts are dismissed and overlooked. Why? BLM is a tangible reminder of a truth that scares the bejesus out of a dwindling white majority power structure. That truth is declaring war upon demographics is like declaring war on gravity. In the end, gravity will win and any success in beating it back is only temporary.
This delegitimizing of BLM has risen to a fever pitch with the senseless killing of two police officers in the last few days. The usual suspects who fan the fires of fear and resentment are behind these efforts – Fox, Breitbart, Limbaugh, Hannity.
There is something that bedevils me and it is this: How neither side of this argument seems to understand there is no monopoly on grief? There is plenty of grief for the getting. The killing of young black men inspires grief just as does the killing of police officers visits horrible suffering on their families. Victims are equally dead and there is no “who hurts worse” or “who grieves better” scorecards.
To fan the fires of resentment and fear, these murders have already taken on a shorthand vocabulary. For instance, Breitbart only refers to “black on white” crimes as race murders, while “white on black” crime is given short shrift as random acts of derangement.
This thinly veiled bigotry is at the heart of the “Summer of Trump.” The “stuttering triple P” poll found:
Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported. 66% of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim… 61% think Obama was not born in the United States… and 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship.
Trump’s beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States.
Institutionalized bigotry will always be buttressed by the very institutions hosting the prejudice. What we know from decades of research is that unless change is affected at the granular level, through outreach like BLM in cooperation with police departments and cities, there will be no significant improvement. Everyone should be encouraged to put their shoulder to the plow. As we have seen this summer, broken people break things and hurt people will hurt people.
Aspiring to such an elementary understanding isn’t on par with Johnson’s Great Society, but it sure would go a long way in making the society we have a much better one.
Your thoughts on any subject are welcomed and encouraged.
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