Friday, June 5, 2020

Racism, Protest, And Trump

The thread of racism runs through the fabric of America. Anyone who pretends otherwise, who believes our justice system is free from it, who fails to understand it’s at the heart of these demonstrations, is deluded. 
Contrary to claims, the election of President Barack Obama didn’t mark its end. Like jogging or birdwatching, presidenting while black provoked racist fury, eventually helping to “elect” Trump, whose racism was obvious long before he back-doored politics by way of Kenya. Before he urged participants to “knock the crap” out of protestors at his rallies, before he told police to be rough when arresting people.  
White Americans can grieve, but we can never feel what it’s like to be African-American when yet another is killed by cops in circumstances unlikely to have extinguished a white person. None of us has had to teach our sons how to avoid being murdered, nor feared for their lives whenever they went out. Who can say they wouldn’t be protesting, rioting even, if skins were exchanged? 
Policing mass protests is tough. This isn’t about cops. It’s about bad ones and unequal justice. And bad people and their bad president, who didn’t start it but has made it worse, before, during, and, no doubt, after the current turmoil. He thinks it plays well for him.  
It’s an unending cycle: brutal police action results in the death of an African-American; angry protests arise, initially peaceful. Then someone throws a brick, a firebomb, looting starts, police respond, people are arrested, violence becomes the story, peaceful protestors are ignored, the underlying issues are suffocated. Again.  
The words of no president could entirely quell violence. Before Trump, though, they’ve tried. Only he, seeing personal advantage, has intentionally poured accelerants into the flames. Incapable of rising to the occasion, he could no more appeal to our best than he could put down a cheeseburger. To him, this violence is an opportunity to distract from his incapable coronavirus leadership, to get his base even angrier, to assure their turnout in November.  
No doubt some of the violence is an expression of anger and frustration, even as it buries the message. But the overwhelming majority of protestors have been non-violent; those who aren’t make it easy to dismiss them all as, in Trump’s inspirational words, “lowlifes and losers.” Which is the point: many instigators – white supremacists, neo-fascists -- are there to do just that; and, unlike anti-fascists, the only group Trump would designate as terrorists, their presence has been documented.  
Violence is to be condemned, but a real president would acknowledge the country’s cross-cultural pain and seek ways to heal it. Instead, eager to look tough, Trump chooses to make it worse, threatens to unleash “vicious dogs and ominous weapons,” calls governors “weak” while sequestered in a bunker in a darkened White House. (He was only “inspecting it,” he told Fox “news.”) Lacking the moral authority of presidents past, he calls for cruelty, not calm.  
In his most disgusting act, ever, which is like picking the hottest tree in a forest fire, Trump, aping third-world dictators, facilitated by his (no longer our) Attorney General, had peaceful citizens dispersed with gas, rubber bullets and low-flying helicopters, before imperiously strutting across the street, followed dutifully by the Secretary of Defense and, decked out in combat fatigues, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. To posture with a Bible, with whose content he’s unfamiliar. 
Never have Trump’s phony religiosity and authoritarian phantasies been so evident, nor his certainty that his supporters are fools. Which they were quick to confirm. That Book should have melted his face like the Lost Ark.  
It’s heartening to see police and elected officials kneeling with protesters, and black demonstrators stopping white agitators from further carnage, pleading for calm, protecting a white cop. But Trump and his enablers will never address racial inequality. It’s up to all of us, liberal and conservative, finally to do so; and, because it’s now or never, to recognize the mounting danger we thought impossible: a democracy-destroying “president,” exploiting justified demonstrations to drag us ever closer to the military-backed dictatorship he craves; whose latest actions have been so disturbing, so sinister, they leave one bereft of words.  
So hear Joe Biden’s instead. Consider what we might regain, if there’s time; if military leaders find the integrity to refuse Trump’s despotic demands; if Republicans reclaim the American values for which they once stood; and if white people finally listen. Really listen.
[Image source]


  1. seeker of wisdom and truthJune 5, 2020 at 8:37 AM

    Even die-hard Trumpanista Pat Robertson condemned the sacrilegious misuse of the Bible by our photo-op occupier of the White House. I doubt this profanity will diminish his popularity with his cult of MAGA fanatics. But, it certainly won't increase his chances for a second term as der furor.

  2. Brother, they think he's fighting for them. They don't see it as a self serving photo-op. They see it as someone standing against (white) religious suppression. They see his photo-op as a righteous cause, called on by God.

    I think it's a fools errand to try to change these peoples minds. Treat them like N. Korea I say. Yeah, we hear you, but unless you stop your crap, we ain't doing anything for you and will encourage others to do the same. Make those individuals the pariah of society, not black folks.

  3. Hey, Smooth to Operate got it right for once.
    Now excuse me, have to make the "Early Bird" White Supremecist Looting window...

    Frank "I can't Breathe! Sleepy Joe overdid the Brylcreem again!"

  4. I'm having fun thinking about what your columns may be like next year at this time.
    The current occupier will have been disposed of, and the new one will be in place such that we're all wondering when he'll be declared dead or incompetent, in no particular order, such that we'll have our first feemale President. It will be shades of Eleanor, who some say ran the country for the final year(s) of FDR (Truman had to drop the bombs).
    I suppose you'll be able to make much out of whatever happens in the Senate, for which I make no prediction other than the same for the House, that the constituency will march further feemale, and will continue to not address racial imbalance whatsoever. Only lip-service and the honking of automobile horns. Sadly, I write that. I've just lived in and among it for too many years and through too many attempts to "change".
    Lost in all of this for a time has been the alphabet characters, so I expect they'll make a raging comeback. The pendulum swings.
    But your columns may suffer, since there are such easy-shot punching bags now, starting with "the prime director".
    I also expect that those things overturned in the last 4 years will be re(over)turned even faster back to their intent.
    But, in all of this, there will not be a return to the simple concept that banks are supposed to compete for our money, not simply be given it by the government. How can anyone compete with free money thrown out the back of a truck except to do the same (Nancy, and believe me, I appreciate her in thi$).
    I'll see how long I can holdout for sanity, but I don't think there will be a return to any form of that. A pattern has been set, and a new world is forming as each of us codgers falls away. I look forward to the time when I can simply stretch out my arms and let another dress me and tell me where to go, since, that will be rewarded.
    How 'bout you? Or do you think you have another 20 years of strength in you? I'm walking again, without weezing, even feeling good! But that will end, too.

  5. A fools errand indeed. The same as trying to tell a bible thumper that god doesn’t exist.

    I’m home. Hoping I don’t spread anything. Of course my copilot was a non-believer-in-science Trumper. His personal tick was picking his fucking nose. Constantly. I got out of my seat and grabbed a box of Kleenex, handed it to him and said “you got to quit picking your nose”. Awkward. He couldn’t stop though. Literally a tick. Hygiene concern? Zero. Social distance? Not. Loud talker, yells when excited. He couldn’t pick up on the body language of people who he got too close to and yell/talked at. Showed up with a 12 pack of Mountain Dew, bought two more 12ers over 6 day trip. -So he was always amped up. Trump’s base is secure.

    If these folk are our brothers and sisters, I don’t want a family anymore b

    Saw some crazy shit this work week.

    I’ve completely lost faith in humanity.


  6. The Drumpfs' are now being supported by the federal government. These people who are unidentifiable are probably "militia" and "Mercenary" personnel, by the looks of the gear and weaponry. Also how they are undisciplined in line. Somewhat uncoordinated and insure. As if looking for instruction constantly. They look like a fish out of water.

    This is what Drumpf is talking about when he says "...we're doing what nobody has ever done, you'll see..." and other of the recent threats of a military crackdown. Just wait till these people show up at polling places. And make no mistake, they will be at polling locations this November. This is simply the recruitment period. Who's willing to be the most radical. This is their job interview.

  7. First, a note to those posting anonymously: it's fine with me; however, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave some sort of signature at the end. I can sorta tell who's who, but it'd be nice to see, for example, ks, or some other moniker at the end, for purposes of distinguishing.

    As to the comment by, I assume, ks, vis a vis my thoughts on future columns: odds are I won't be writing much, if at all, next year. I expect there'll be plenty of substrate, as Trump will have declared the election rigged, his armed tough-guys will have caused and will continue to cause mayhem, Moscow Mitch, if he's reelected (I'm giving lots of $$ to Amy McGrath, his opponent) will scream bloody murder as Ds do what he's been doing, Fox "News" will broadcast nonstop criticism of Biden, etc, etc...

    I do take exception to your assertions about Biden being dead or incompetent. For one thing, if he were dead, he'd still be more competent than Trump. For another, he's only a couple of years older than me, and, by the looks of it, has a lot more in him. I, on the other hand, give myself not much more than five.

  8. You better go much longer than five years: we won't get this mess back on track that quickly. (Joseph Dennis North Seattle)

  9. Now, I know I am a bit of a loudmouth. Have a giant ego. Say shit nobody else has the guts to say and stick to my guns on it. Using words almost nobody uses(because it gets you banned). But I feel it's most important to simply say it no matter how it's said. I am, apologetically, me. Soooo....

    Here's my point illustrated in living color. In real time. Taken from the article...(The video will make your stomach queasy.)

    It said..."We were just following orders" and didn't know what else they could have done. I mean, they yelled at him and shoved him violently to the ground. What else could they, the cops, have possibly done? I'm serious. That's their excuse.

    I'm not a cop. But if a 76 year old man was standing there. I'd either let him go or cuff him...and let him go. But instead..The guy "giving orders" to assault people wasn't punished. Hmmm...Could he be a Sgt. or a Lt.? Is he too big to fire? Yup. He is.

    So cops do what cops do...all 57 resigned from the riot squad. Not a single one said that assaulting people is wrong. They just quit in solidarity. My only question is "Can we make that permanent?"

    “Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans told WGRZ.

    Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference Friday that he was “exceptionally disappointed” by the resignations.

    “It indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night, which I think each of us in this room found something wrong with, as well as our governor, the mayor and millions of people across the country — and, for that matter, the world,” he said."

    The cops are goons. Period. They themselves need to fix it. Period.

    And just a personal note...Assaulting people like this is going to get cops killed. Some idiot/idiots are going to take to vigilantism. A cop beats a dude in WA. and in Alabama a cop is ambushed in response. Geez they are stupid!

    And this is what we the tax payers pour our money into?

  10. Sorry to hear you're thinking five at this point. I've thought that more than once for myself, even thinking the "one year or less" stuff, which, didn't happen. Now I'm enjoying daily walks, and I even have a doughnut every other week though it's insane for me to do that. Bavarian Cremes, my weakness.
    I agree with JDNS that it will take more than 5 years to get "back on track" now. The question will be, "what track?" There are many able competitors who are working the chaos to their own advantage, and there's no telling where they'll take us other than further into their unbelievable perversions. I think it will be an Or-Gates-ian world, and that's what his seizing with his fake "The Givings Pledge" junk. As "The Boss" sang so ably, "Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be kings, and kings aren't satisfied 'till they rule every-thing!" (for fun, sing this in a Bob Dylan voice) That's directly from an old Book I know, too. Everyone is nothing more than a plagiarist, even "The Boss" (and especially Bob Dylan, did you know that?)
    I suppose you could say I don't think that electing old lesbians or normal black women will simply solve all of our ills, though I have to hand it to the irony of "the march" to their doorstop where "the youth" delivered their message. To understand the irony, simply put any other twosome of a different, uh, composition in those ladies places and I'm sure it would have erupted into a riot. Am I wrong? (I know, always...)
    As for monikers at the end, the problem with the one I might use is that certain ones here polluted that so richly in times past. The funniest one being which sex I am. I continue to not reveal my self-identity, and never will. Should it matter?
    How 'bout changing it to another, like NotN (Nanook of the North). You see, I plan on spending my last 5 years there, as soon as possible, since it probably won't be that long. I can't stand living in this state the way it is, way too much hate surrounding everyone. I lived in AK as a child, and I think it's a good place to return to, especially since it's warming up now. Signed, NotN.

  11. Excellent column, Sid. Well written.

    I'm sorry to hear that you're thinking of pulling the plug on the Herald. That will leave a vacuum. Does that include hanging up the blog? Many of us who have come to enjoy each other's comments and interaction will miss the limited engagement that we enjoy here.

    Borrowing lines from The Expanse and Alien, we will all be spaced, and no one will hear our screams.

  12. Might keep up the blog. At this point, it's almost entirely posting my column, but before that started I posted on it several times a week, and it had developed a broad and wide readership. Now, I spend too much time writing and tweaking my columns before sending them in. There are, though, far more things to write about than one can include in a weekly column. And I, too, like seeing the comments here, and have pulled the plug on only a couple, from only one complainant.

  13. Part one:

    Here's more of the same...This is not a coinky dinky. This is how they all operate folks. Sorry to break the news to those nonbelievers. Ask a defense attorney sometime how often cops lie. It's every single case. There's a little detail here or there. But they all shine up their stories and collude. Both illegal.

    Slideshow by photo services 
    Taken together, the incidents show how instant verification of police accounts have altered the landscape of accountability.
    “We certainly, as a profession, have been diminished by events that have been witnessed on video over the course of the last couple of weeks,” Jim Pasco, executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police, a labor union, told The Washington Post.
    Officers in Buffalo shove a man who ‘tripped and fell’
    A 75-year-old protester was shovedby police officers in Buffalo on Thursday, causing the man to stumble backward and slam his head on the sidewalk. Blood streamed from his ear in the disturbing video shot by local NPR affiliate WBFO.
    The initial news release from the Buffalo Police Department said the man, later identified as Martin Gugino, “tripped and fell” during “a skirmish involving protesters” — ostensibly placing the consequences on the man himself.
    “He’s bleeding out of his ear!” shouted one person in WBFO’s video, as the officers shuffle past the man laying motionless on the ground, turning instead to arrest another protester.
    The disparity between that account and the viral video fueled outrage over the incident. The department walked back its description after it reviewed the video and suspended the involved officers without pay.
    Claims of assault on police fizzle in Philadelphia
    Evan Gorski, 21, a protester in Philadelphia, was arrested on an allegation he pushed officer off a bike on Monday, authorities told his attorney.
    But video circulated on social media painted a much different picture of how Gorski, a Temple University student, tangled with police. In the moment captured by others, Gorski reached between another demonstrator and an officer to separate them.
    A moment later, Philadelphia Police officer Joseph Bologna Jr. struck Gorski with a baton, chased him down and straddled him as another officer pressed his face on the asphalt. Other officers swung their batons at others gathered around.
    Gorski’s attorney, R. Emmett Madden, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that prosecutors dropped charges and released him Wednesday after reviewing video from the scene.
    “The police were lying,” Madden said. “We had a protest police brutality, and then police brutalize my client and try to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit.”
    Bologna now faces charges of felony aggravated assault.
    Police union says cameraman struck with shield ‘may have fallen’
    The charge of authorities against protesters in Lafayette Square in Washington on Monday has become one of the most scrutinized incidents among the protests, complete with officials parsing the definition of tear gas to downplay the violent response.
    But in one widely condemned moment, U.S. Park Police were shown striking an Australian news cameraman with a shield, jabbing at his camera and swinging his baton at the anchor.
    The moment, broadcast live on 7 News in Australia, triggered an international incident, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling on his diplomats in Washington to investigate.

  14. Part 2:

    The agency’s union responded with a statement defending the actions of the officers, suggesting they “may have fallen.” It occurred because of the loud chaos in the park and the “lack of readily identifiable journalist markings,”

    Kenneth Spencer, chairman of the U.S. Parks Police Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee, said in a statement on Thursday.
    The union appeared to have deleted their statement from their homepage after it was obtained by The Washington Post. An archived version of their page shows their initial statement. A spokesman for the union did not make Spencer available for comment.
    The two officers involved were placed on administrative leave as an investigation continues, the Park Police said Wednesday.
    What is less clear in the union’s summary of events is where the crew may have fallen, and if a flurry of shields and batons may have led to it — if they even fell at all.

  15. Here's a good cop who wants what I want. Those 57 cops "self deported". They are out of a job. This cop agrees and I think she's right on all the points she makes...Especially the last comment. That is, "the good cops want them gone anyway." That is soooo true.

    We need to fight for the decent cops as well as for victims of the cops BS. It's complicated Jujitsu. You have to compartmentalize your feelings. Most people can't do that very well. I think this black gal is a master at compartmentalizing emotions. She has a clear perspective.

  16. "The thread of racism runs through the fabric of America" True; in some places it comprises the whole bolt of cloth.

    It is a highly toxic poison as well; that destroys the soul as well as the body. Yet death worshiping fascists swill it like Cool-Aid.

    Sid, I remember when you last decided to hangup the writing; it made me heartsick to think that such a powerful voice for sanity and reason would go silent. Do you remember the Samurai preparing for seppuku?

    Don't go Sid!


  17. Jesus! Is Frank still here? It's like no matter how many times you flush, he is still there, slowly circling the bowl.


  18. Great article writing about the privileged ignorance of most whites and the ability to finally see it all for what it really is.

    These white people changed their minds on racism. They now understand that they themselves are the problem.

  19. John Oliver - POLICING IN AMERICA

    People, this isn't a polite take on today's cops and the justice system. I agree with the black chick at the end. It's been this way for decades and centuries prior. It's the mentality. It's sickening to me and always has been. It makes me really angry. Like wanna beat their candy asses angry. But alas, I don't have a badge. I can't go around assaulting people with near total anonymity and criminal and civil immunity.

    They assaulted and hospitalized me. I didn't sue or ask for discipline on any cop. I simply talked about it with everyone and have not stopped since. Now the entire system is pressing down on my neck. Been that way a very long time. They'll never let up either. I can't just move. DMV is part of that system. Their cousin works at your cell carriers call centers. Never mind the tight knit local networks. The grocer or mail person. The street sweepers and garbage haulers. The nurse in the ER. People have no Earthly idea what lies just below the surfaces of their own 'reality'. The net is vast and it is well entrenched and very very well protected. Respect it, but don't fear it. Roll up your sleeves and get to work fixing it.

    Oh! And if you are the problem??? We are aware of you and we are coming for you. Shine up your resumes. I'm gonna get loud. "Silence"...Just another thing money can't buy *ahem*...Well, can't buy people of strong character anyway.

  20. ...and now Kshama wants Durkan to resign!
    It's long past when I thought I might figure out how this whole thing will play out.
    Life on the fringe. Oh, what a life it will be!
    I noticed the nutcake who drove his car into the crowd and shot the black guy hasn't been identified in any story I've seen so far.
    People are getting angry at the "protests". The shooter was lucky, as I'm sure there are plenty of guns being packed among the "peaceful".
    This is not headed anywhere good, no matter how much hate is thrown seemingly in the direction of the police.
    It's time to listen to a few of MLK's speeches at these protests, instead of the lunacy being thrown at the police.
    Nanook will be in the North soon enough, especially if/when the bullets start flying!
    Signed, NotN.

  21. You are all very welcome!

  22. "I noticed the nutcake who drove his car into the crowd and shot the black guy hasn't been identified in any story I've seen so far.
    People are getting angry at the "protests". The shooter was lucky, as I'm sure there are plenty of guns being packed among the "peaceful"."

    The only "nutcake" is a finger X4 pointing at you, you...

    You are "sure" the peaceful protesters getting run down and shot were well armed?
    "plenty of guns being packed" you say????

    How about I am sure NO GUNS packed by protesters on the peaceful side. Why? Because a guy ran people down for a few seconds, then fumbled for his gun and got out of his cart and started shooting and moving as the crowd ran away and NOBODY EVEN PULLED A GUN!

    Your bias that you project is evident in every comment you make. You have nothing but preconceived notions that fail the simplest of scrutiny. No funny quips, just lame attempts at being hilariously witty like me. It gets old. Yet, you are self proclaimed all knowing and all seeing...Right...Sure you are. It's nothing but unproductive, destructive gibberish cheaply passed off as some kind of profound golden nugget of wisdom.

  23. Given this is the 2nd time STO has set his sights on me, I'll do the right thing and disappear. It's not appropriate for me to be that obsession here.
    I'll enjoy seeing what you write for November 13, after the drubbing, and may say hi at that time! Best wishes to all!

  24. My bad.

    Unless it's from an unfamiliar source, I don't always wade carefully through the comments. I don't want people attacking each other here. I'll be more vigilant, and potentially more active with the "reject" button. Even if the comment is from a friend.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.


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