In A Horrible National Place

I have not been this depressed since the afternoon of September 11, 2001; and I know I am not alone in that.

[Statue of Liberty and World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, from the Liberty Island ferry. Photo by me, 1991.]

In some ways, though, this is worse. That was inflicted upon us as Americans by sneaky terrorist foreigners. But this current “brilliance” is the product entirely of our own doings.

Two generations have passed, including eight years of a twice-elected black president, and it is STILL in too many ways “1968“.

The other day, I went on about cops; that was the immediate cause for the initial protests that went unsurprisingly nationwide, and even global. Unsurprisingly too, some violence in the U.S. started partly because cops were present. Also clear is sometimes cops were (and are still as of last night) occasionally reportedly attacking peaceful protesters. Journalists too have been targeted by police AFTER identifying themselves as journalists.

After about 24-48 hours of all this questions were also starting to be asked about those rioting. Were they some of the protesters? Yes. But were some “agitators” from “out of town?” According to some local mayors – often black – arrested rioters and looters seem to be MOSTLY not locals. The black (and woman) mayor of Atlanta stated the bulk of them did not “look like” her city usually does.

We have been treated to what would have a week ago been bizarre sights (caught on camera, because now most things are caught on camera), such as “Black Lives Matter” protesters seizing and turning over a white “anti-fascist” “communist” – American youthful “communists” born in “2000” appear to have a knowledge of communism gleaned mostly from T-shirt slogans and have almost certainly never known someone who actually lived in a communist state – to nearby police after that “anti-fascist” destroyed property. We have also seen a black male protester verbally face-to-face imploring what appear to be well-to-do young white women “activists” (who look like college students) NOT to cause trouble with the cops because they, the blacks, will be “blamed” for it. Those are just two examples.

To think this started because of a single thug cop in Minneapolis. Decades of police training and we STILL somehow have a-sholes like that on police forces. My late uncle’s (and so many others like him, trying to push forward better policing) entire g-damn career was apparently for nothing.

Worrying too are the nagging doubts we must have that had it not been for the initial peaceful protests, that that cop would have faced no legal peril. Yes, there was the police video and bystander phone footage, but why do we suspect it was the protests that almost certainly got him arrested. Why should it require waving placards and chanting in the streets to achieve basic law enforcement accountability?

Yet this is now not really any longer about that single cop and that single murder. This has swelled into far more. And in the face of it, we have a lack of substantive national leadership.

There ceased to be a Republican party in 2016 from the moment Senator Ted Cruz slunk away spinelessly after that tangerine now in the White House called Cruz’s wife ugly. (The Texan should have instantly demanded at least figurative “satisfaction” – duels now being illegal – for an insult like that, which a REAL man and a Texan – which Cruz also purports to be – damn well would have.) He and other now so-called “Republican” officials, who clearly like having government jobs better than actually having republican political principles, join in the authoritarian’s-in-chief’s crying out OF COURSE for a return to “law and order.” (Again, it’s “1968.”) A Secretary of Defense has actually urged governors to “dominate the battle space”… against other Americans. For the limited Trumpist intellect, confrontation and pulling out guns and the Second Amendment is all there is.

Meanwhile, the Democrats (heaven help us, they are our alternative?) OF COURSE promise there will be big change if their man is elected in November and beg people to stay home and OF COURSE declare that rioting is bad. (Because they also know Americans historically do not tend to vote big nationally for parties identified with rioting. Ask “President Hubert Humphrey.”) Oh, and importantly we need to help governors make sure state and local employees are paid. That is a PRIORITY. Including teachers. For amidst a pandemic (remember that from last week?), and now coast to coast riots, we gotta keep the teachers happy (which has nothing to do with their unions being big Democratic contributors, of course). What a blessed relief that must be to the millions and millions of PRIVATELY FORMERLY employed non-teachers who have not been PRIVATELY paid in months because they don’t have jobs happily funded through taxation and who may themselves now find they are unable to pay those taxes to keep those “vital” teachers paid, and who indeed may now barely even be able to afford food, and face personal ruin. Nothing like shared sacrifice and coming together in greatly challenging times, Democrats, eh?

[The tombs of Martha Washington (l) and George Washington. Mount Vernon, Virginia. Photo by me, 2011.]

What we will think of all of this mess looking back from a month from now is impossible really to guess. I hope I will want to delete this post because I am entirely off base. However, regardless what we do know is for a myriad of reasons there is a great deal of anger bubbling just below the surface among some parts of the American population and that they are willing to destroy to make their points.

June 2020, as a country, right now, we are in a horrible place.


    • Honestly, I was not sure about posting that. In the end, though, I thought, why not? We should be utterly appalled by what is happening and not fear to say so.

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    • The current POTUS is not another Austrian corporal. Or Il Duce. He strikes me as if he is doing an impersonation of Robert Mugabe – the low-rent name calling, the chest-thumping about the threats to the state, the brow-beating governors into doing what HE decrees, the vainglorious faux religiosity, the citings of how he is the one defending the poor, the endless mocking of the media as a threat to “the people,” and the politicizing the military. I always considered him someone who did not understand what a president does, or knew what the office entailed, or even what to do all day. He proves that repeatedly. He is used to ordering people around and not being questioned – which is why so many of his appointees don’t last long and his closest confidantes are his extended family. He never really before “scared” me as president, until now.

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      • Good comparison. From my short stints in Africa, Mobuto Sese Seko comes to mind; especially his adopted title of Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, and so on…) It sounds more humorous in French. 🤣

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