2020 Comes To This

Election night looms before us. Four years ago, we had the Hail Mary pass of all Hail Mary passes. At the time, I thought that America had reached peak divisiveness. Years of Social Justice crusades across the Internet lost steam. Salty tears flowed from the Bluechecks like a flood of Biblical proportions. But what truly happened? Was this a fluke? Was it the last gasp of old America? Tonight is when we will learn that. All your base are belong to Trump, indeed (and this may have been my finest meme-making work):

Once is an accident. Twice is a pattern. Tonight will tell us which it really was.

Events did not deliver the change we sought in 2016. I can’t blame Trump for that, as much as I’d like to. A media and pop culture establishment fused with Woke Corportatism to become some kind of Frankenstein’s political monster. Trump’s attention span – such that it is – was spent fighting that monstrosity almost every day. Oh, we had our share of wins. We got our judges – and should we fail tonight, well, that is the last roadblock we have left. That’s not nothing.

But now we are on the verge of Civil War, or something akin to it. I’ve never seen divisiveness of this sort in my country in my entire lifetime. We’ve gone from the occasional beatdown in a protest, to burning neighborhoods and roving gun battles in the streets. Perhaps the political Rubicon has been crossed and it’s too late, no matter who wins. Political rage is everywhere.

The polls would tell us to have no hope. Even FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an 89% chance of victory, compared to 2016 where Nate at least offered a 1 in 3 chance for Trump. Are the polls completely wrong? The possibility is very strong, in my opinion. With the emotional charge of politics today, in the middle of what may be a major political realignment, how can a pollster even account for all of the variables? How can the pollster be more accurate than a flip of the coin under these circumstances? The statistical models of the past may have worked in a pre-divisive environment, but I highly suspect everything is off, now. Of course, tonight will tell us that, too.

Statespoll tries to compensate for these factors as best they can with their modeling. They believe Trump is likely to win. But it’s unclear to me that this is any more likely to be right than Nate Silver. A coin flip may be a better prognosticator than any of them.

2020 has tested the fabric of America in a way, in my opinion, even the 1960s did not. In some ways, Kurt Schlichter’s split of America scenario may be overly optimistic compared to what lies before us.

Before 2016, I had many Lefty friends – perhaps more than Rightist ones. After all, as a DJ and a software developer working in the city, my environment has been one of perpetual Leftism, to the point that I started this blog primarily as a way to express things I could no longer say to people I cared about – and still expect to keep the peace. That reason has largely evaporated. Most of them are long gone, now. Denouncing me one at a time as a hater, bigot, Nazi, or whatever. Of the few that remain, most of the time we dance around the subject entirely. They know what I am, and I know what they are, but we pretend we do not know. It’s a shallow way to live, but I take pride in the fact that I never told them to get lost, or pushed them away.

Always it comes from their side, not mine.

Will that continue? Perhaps with me. I am not built in such a way as to tell people in my life to fuck off due to their politics, and that is, in some ways, a weakness. Though of late I have stopped talking to them and kept my distance in the hopes that, perhaps, sanity will return. But will that continue with the rest? A thousand events all across the country, from Kenosha to the Biden Bus incident show that Rightists are becoming as hostile in turn as Leftists have been these last few years. I can’t fault them. One of the prevalent themes in Tom Kratman’s books is the notion that your enemy will learn from your actions. He will become like you. If you do something to him, he will learn, and do it to you in turn. I don’t like these things that are happening, just as I would not want to do some horrible thing even to an enemy. If the enemy does it first, however, you must do it, or something of equal or greater magnitude, in turn. Otherwise he will never learn.

Otherwise you become the chump hitting “Keep Faith” every time your opponent hits “Betray”. Perhaps Betraying in turn will teach him a lesson, or perhaps not, but at least you’ll be even in the latter case.

If you believe this is an American phenomenon alone – and I doubt many of my readers do – take note of the fact that Chile may need to bring back Augusto Pinochet after this business:

Chileans want a more equal society. They’re about to rewrite their constitution to have it.

Vox freely admits that Pinochet’s reforms brought prosperity and economic growth to Chile. Are they going to throw that all away for Venezuela-level equality? It’s hard to tell, I don’t trust anything the media spouts these days. But if so, I wonder if Chile has another Pinochet. If the choice is to let your country fall to Socialism and have mountains of dead bodies, or throw a couple thousand Communists out of helicopters, well, is that really a difficult choice?

I prefer freedom over any of that, this goes without saying. But if politics has taken freedom completely off the table, and the only options are your boot stomping on my face, or my boot stomping on yours, what choice do you really expect me to make? Leftists think Trump is a dictator. They wouldn’t know a dictator until he put them in front of the firing squad. Trump isn’t even remotely close. As far as I know, he has killed zero Communists. But as the old saying goes: play stupid games, win stupid prizes. If you WANT a military coup and dictatorship, scapegoating roundabout 50% of the American population – the ARMED 50% – is a pretty good way to risk ending up with one.

If Trump wins tonight, I fully expect a meltdown of near-Biblical proportions. If Biden wins, well, the news outlets saying this would be the less violent option may prove to be right in the immediate short term. In the long run, a Kamala Harris shadow presidency is, in my opinion, as likely as not to end up in a Kurt Schlichter scenario, and ultimately may prove worse on the violence and stupidity scale.

Either way, I still hope Trump pulls it out. If we can manage a few more years of relative prosperity, maybe my own family will be better insulated against the shitstorm I think is waiting for this country in the coming years. I hate that we’ve ended up here, with a country full of people denouncing their neighbors as Trump supporters, throwing away friendships, family, marriages, and careers over this. But I have no control over events. None of us do.

We’re all passengers on the Titanic. Some of us are even shouting to the crew that there’s an iceberg ahead.

Nobody seems willing to turn the wheel.

And it might be too late to do anything about it anyway, now.

May God be with you, my friends.

The Frog is Boiling

Many of my readers will remember an incident back in 2017, where a Right-wing protest and a Left-wing protest confronted one another in Berkeley and the “Based Stick Man” (Kyle Chapman) broke his stick over the head of a Lefty antagonist. At the time, this was so notable it became a meme. Gifs of the moment the stick broke on the Lefty’s head became associated with Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy VII Limit Breaks, and other such things. Eventually a graphic novel of the event was even proposed.

In other words, this was a notable event. It was different enough from the norm of political discourse in the country to receive national attention.

Today, there are probably several stickmen hitting people over the head at political protests and rallies every week. The Frog has been slow-boiling these past three years. Achieving notability today means pulling an AR-15 and a handgun out on a mob breaking into your neighborhood, or killing two antagonists and wounding another as happened in Kenosha, or getting shot by a ‘security guard’ after some kind of argument at a protest.

Neighborhoods burn, naked women display their genitals at the cops, people fight in the streets, and we have the occasional open gun battle making its appearance. Hitting someone with a stick is nothing, now. From 2016 to 2020 we’ve gone from relatively normal protests and rallies, to dead bodies rapidly becoming expected in protests increasingly degenerating into street fighting. At this rate, a Beer Hall Putsch from the Left should Trump win wouldn’t even faze me. I more or less expect that it is more likely than not in the event of a Trump victory in the election.

In the last few years, the entire tone of political interaction in America has been poisoned. I remember the days where I could have have political discussion with Leftist friends, and they might disagree with most of what I said, but it was not a particularly big deal. The very same people are now posting things like “if you don’t believe systemic racism is the greatest problem facing America, don’t even talk to me! This is not up for debate!” Or another one: “it’s okay to disagree about favorite pizza toppings, but not over support for Black Lives Matter!”

Political opinions have been elevated to “fact” status by the political tribes. So if my opinion on universal healthcare differs from a Leftist’s opinion, I must be wrong, because it’s a fact that universal healthcare is superior. It’s not up for debate. Socialism is superior to Capitalism. Not up for debate. Trump is a racist. Not up for debate. The illegal immigrants being held until they can be returned to their countries of origin is the exact same thing as concentration camps, this is a fact not up for debate, and this means that Trump is Hitler.

Again, not up for debate.

The moral surety of the political tribes is what disturbs me the most. It is one thing to say “I think X is more likely to be true than Y” and act accordingly. It is quite another matter to say “X is definitely better than Y, and any disagreement means you are evil, and I have moral license to do whatever I want to force your obedience.”

Some people blame the political poison on Trump, and this might have carried water if the behavior originated with the MAGA tribe. It largely, however, originated with the political Left in recent years. It’s to the point that the Washington Post ran a piece about how only a Biden landslide victory could stave off the political violence. It was an implicit admission that if the Left doesn’t get their way, they will burn it all down (or at least threaten to). What is also implicit in this is that the political Right is starting to respond in kind (and the Kenosha shootings are tacit evidence that this worm is turning).

Now, I am cautious of using any one single graph as gospel. But this is nonetheless an interesting datapoint:

The trend here is worrisome. The Kenosha videos were fascinating in that if you listen closely, it sounds like there are other shooters other than Kyle Rittenhouse. No one else was shot aside from those involved with Rittenhouse, of course, but it was interesting that we had a city burning and some kind of roving gun battle in the streets. I mentioned earlier that this was the crossing of a political Rubicon. Protests haven become street brawls (Based Stickman gives us a rough timeline of when this began). And street brawls are starting to mutate into open war (Kenosha). Kyle Rittenhouse may be similar to Based Stickman in that he marks a point of departure, where history can say “this is when things really went off the rails”.

From 2016 to 2020, we went from large-scale (but mostly peaceful) protesting to street brawls and gun violence. Where will we be in 2024? When will the frog jump out of the pot? The whole tone and emotional tenor of political discourse has radically shifted.

America is heading rapidly toward something like Civil War (albeit nothing like the previous one). I see no signs that it will diminish, no matter who is elected in November. Trends continue until they don’t. We don’t know where the inflection point will be, or what it will look like. Tomorrow this could all calm down, though I don’t think it is very likely. But if the trend holds, America is in for some seriously dark times.

Keep your ammo dry, my friends. There’s a non-trivial chance you’re going to need it soon. The Culture War is starting to turn into something much worse.

Crossing the Rubicon

The riots have, in this blogger’s opinion, crossed a Rubicon into what might escalate into something resembling a Civil War. Yes, people say “the war is coming” with relative frequency in Right-wing circles, and up until now, said war has not come.

But look at this video and tell me that things have not changed:

https://twitter.com/_S70DD/status/1298602154438074370

For reference – because the video is muddled a bit – I will narrate what happened as best I can tell from the various videos and pictures I’ve seen. The guy on the ground with the rifle was assaulted by a guy with a skateboard, and another man with a handgun (see picture of his mangled arm and handgun here). Rifle-guy shot both. Skateboard-guy died of a chest wound, and handgun-guy had a fair chunk of his arm blown off, and ran to the police for protection. The irony of that last point should be lost on exactly no one.

A gun battle in the streets followed. Watch the whole video.

Elsewhere, another gun battle occurred at a used car dealership, in which one person was shot in the head and killed: see video here. One gun battle in the streets we might write off. Two? It’s getting a lot more difficult.

Roving gun battles in the streets between political factions is an escalation we have not seen since at least the 60s, and even then, there is, IMHO, a palpable difference. The rioters, while having some centralized targets like police stations and courthouses (which have been the targets of a ‘siege’ of sorts in Portland), are also engaging completely random targets like used car dealerships, which have nothing to do with any political motivation, save that they are there. Back in the 60s – at least from what I know of it – you had more of a counter-culture vs Establishment mindset. And while there is some of that here, there’s also a lot of essentially random looting, violence, arson, and otherwise that has no real justification – and it’s everywhere. We had it in my hometown. Any sizable city in America has probably experienced at least some of it.

We have random diners accosted in various locales, told to join the rioters in a fist salute to Black Lives Matter, or be surrounded by an angry, threatening, screaming mob. Black Lives Matter protesters roam through suburban neighborhoods demanding that homeowners give up their homes and property to the mob. Remind me just who are the fascists here?

It seems to me that we might have crossed the Rubicon, and Civil War, or something akin to it may be inevitable at this point. If true, I don’t imagine the conflict would be anything like the first war between the states – the geographic and demographic issues are more urban vs. rural than they are North vs. South. Let’s posit for a moment that Trump wins reelection. Does anybody think the violence will lessen if that eventuality happens?

What is Biden wins? I wonder if we might see an escalation there, too – some kind of emboldened strategy for revenge on the Trumpites. But of the two options, Biden probably represents less violence in the very near term – with potential for things to get more ugly should the Democrats attempt some kind of political crackdown on the Right (a possibility I think is very likely).

In any event, one blog I follow has a running “minutes to midnight” style summary of where we are on the Civil War clock. And we’re in stage 9… out of 10. With 10 being open warfare. At least according to his barometer, anyway. I don’t think he’s wrong, and if anything things have gotten worse since he wrote the last post.

Did we cross the Rubicon over the last few days? Only history will tell us for certain. But me? I think it’s very likely that we just did.

Keep your ammo dry.

July 4th – America on Borrowed Time

Normally, roundabout this time of year, folks would be BBQing, waving some flags around, and shooting off some fireworks with friends and family. And to be fair, my readers are more likely than not to be doing exactly that. This is true for a good portion of middle America, even so.

It is unclear if it is true for most of America, though.

CNN and the Democrat party both delivered condemnations of Mt. Rushmore in alignment with the protests going on there, and there has been noise on social media to attend to its removal. Proposals ranged from those who wished to give it to the Lakota to do what they wish, to those who wanted to publicly blow it up. The reasoning, of course, is that there were two slave owners on the monument, and four white men. That Lincoln freed the slaves no longer means anything – something I explained to those who wanted to torch the Confederate monuments some time ago.

At this point, I doubt Mt. Rushmore will survive much longer. Trump appears to still support it, given his rally there. But given the Democrats’ position on it, I doubt it would long survive a Democrat administration:

There are various reasons supplied for why the monument must go. It was Native American land (but so was all of North America at one time – is it the intention of the Left for anyone with European ancestry to leave?). Two of them were slave-owners (though Washington provided for the freedom of his slaves). They are four straight white males. Etc… Some of the reasons may even carry some validity – I’m not going to sit here and worship at the altar of these men. They were men, and thus possessed good and bad traits, both. Good Americans, yes, but still men – with all the flaws that go along with it.

Rather, I ask where this motivation comes from. What is the end goal?

In my opinion, the end goal is the erasure of the United States of America. It is to transform America into something else, something Leftists presumably believe to be better, but which has little in common with the America we know. The media, though condemning Mt. Rushmore rather obviously in pieces and clips like this one from CNN, falls short of outright claiming July 4th to be racist. But it comes close in pieces like How Black Lives Matter Transformed the Fourth of July. Likely, the full-scale denunciation of Independence Day will come later. In 2016 CNN reported favorably on Mt. Rushmore when Bernie Sanders went to visit it. Now that Trump is there, the monument must go. So perhaps we have roundabout four years before calls to replace July 4th with Juneteenth begin to be heard in volume (they are already on social media).

In my most recent article, I speculated on the obsession with ever-smaller injustices on the part of the Progressive Left. A few of my readers wondered if, perhaps, I was not giving too much credit to the Left in assuming good faith. And to be fair, I think that the useful idiot side of Social Justice may be acting in a sort of perverted good faith. But the media? No. This became obvious to me when they repeatedly denounced wearing face masks, then explained that if you did not wear a mask, you wanted granny to die of the ‘rona. Or when CNN repeatedly trashed Trump for believing that some medication was going to help with coronavirus, and then a month or so later, reported that the medication in fact did help.

There is certainly no good faith on the part of the media.

So far, the political Right has been ineffectual in stopping this latest wave of anti-American sentiment, and the Progressive Left has moved faster than I’ve ever seen the move in my lifetime. We went from debating Confederate statues to people pulling down statues across the nation – and not just of Confederates, but general Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and other abolitionists. This was never about the Confederates. Rather, the Confederate monuments were the dam holding back this wave, and once the dam failed…

…well, here we are.

Enjoy Independence Day, my friends. America appears to be on borrowed time, though, and it is unclear how many more years will pass before this, too, is cancelled by pop culture. And when Independence Day goes, what will remain of America?

The Great Awokening

Dear readers, is it just me or does 2016 already feel like a long time ago? I don’t know about you, but I miss the days when Woke Democrat mobs only came after people who posted nationalist memes and ethnic humor on Twitter. Today, you can be cancelled for almost anything – or at least the attempt can be made by nominal Republicans angry that a pizza chain dared to thank a random person on Twitter in 2012. As long as, that is, said random person became an official in the Trump administration 8 years later.

Domino’s Pizza probably should employ more clairvoyant Woke employees.

The Great Awokening means you should be able to accurately predict mob opinion. Failure means Cancellation.

As statues come down across the country – to include Thomas Jefferson – well, it seems like we’ve entered an orgy of monumental destruction. Strippers start twerking and masturbating in public as some kind of protest. And we continue to watch rioters burn down fast food restaurants because, naturally, it is important to target Wendy’s and McDonald’s when discussing police brutality. And while race may be at the center of this issue, it is by no means black and white. Watch as a black man waving an American flag is attacked and his flag destroyed by Antifas chanting that America is a colonialist, fascist state. Said antifas – a good many white – chant that he’s a race traitor, of course.

Cancel culture now includes those who do not directly support #BlackLivesMatter, even if they agree that George Floyd’s death was wrong and police reform is urgently needed. If you don’t believe in the core principles of Social Justice – the current central premise of its most prominent faction being, of course, that if you are white you are guilty – then it is time for you to be cancelled.

The Great Awokening doesn’t care about the cause, only your virtue-signaled submission.

There are so many more incidents I’ve seen lately – and I’m sure my readers have seen still more. This includes people in my personal life, many of which have stated that if you are not protesting with BlackLivesMatter, then you’re a Fascist, and you need to be cancelled. Or, perhaps, you should be reeducated in camps, as Bill Palmer explains:

If you’re right-of-center, well, you should clean toilets or something, or be sent to reeducation camp for ‘rehabilitation’. These views are mainstream on the political Left. Or at least they are among mainstream Leftists I know in my personal life, and see on social media. Leftists who still want to have a peaceful dialogue with Rightists appear to be an endangered species.

The other day, I saw a tweet from a group of armed Texans ensuring the Alamo was protected. A great many Rightists praised them, and while I agree that it was a good thing, I disagree that this means anything in the long run. Eventually Texas will go Leftist. In a decade. Two, maybe. I don’t have a good handle on any kind of timeline, but it will. And then the Antifas will burn it down. Do you think activists have forgotten that Texas was a slave-owning society that took land from Mexico? That’s how they’re going to see it.

You might save the Alamo today. You won’t tomorrow. They will come, one day.

The Great Awokening holds nothing off limits.

Some folks agreed with Confederate statues coming down because some were erected by legitimate segregationists for political purposes. That, and the Civil War meant that Southern leaders and military men were, in effect, traitors. That second one is a position I generally disagree with – I think that, despite the bad motivations behind Southern secession, there’s a lot more nuance to men like Lee, who were in a position to either betray their home state, or the Federal government. But whatever. I get the arguments.

I also told everyone that the mob would not stop with the Confederates. Columbus statues are coming down. Thomas Jefferson too. You may say “well, Columbus did a lot of terrible things.” Sure. You may say “Thomas Jefferson carried on illicit relationships with his slaves.” Also true! Welcome to the wide world of humans are imperfect jerks. Are we honoring them for the bad things they did, or the good things?

Even if you agree with those… what about George Washington, who slowly came to despise slavery, and provided for the freedom of his slaves? What about the statues of prominent abolitionists that have been vandalized because they were white? What about Winston Churchill’s statue in Britain, that was covered with graffiti? Did they deserve it? Well, I’m sure they’ve all done something bad. And in Churchill’s case, fighting actual, real-life Nazis is not worth setting aside his mistakes. You cannot be honored unless you are perfect, it seems.

Are we making the argument that we should have no monuments of people, because the woke crowd will find something wrong or unwoke with every one of them?

The Great Awokening tolerates no monuments to the past. 

Watching media talking heads and prominent Democrats (and Quisling-like Republicans like Rick Wilson) celebrating the protests and excusing its spread of COVID-19 while simultaneously condemning Trump rallies for spreading COVID-19 is a hilarious exercise in doublethink. It reminds me of the constant back-and-forth reporting about the utility of wearing a mask. If you wore a mask, you were depriving doctors of them, who of course needed them – even though they didn’t work – and, of course, it wouldn’t work for you. Then all of a sudden if you went anywhere without wearing a mask, you clearly wanted old people to die.

As Zero HP Lovecraft said on Twitter: “The irony of millions of people chanting ‘I can’t breathe’ as they huddle together and expectorate a respiratory virus at each other is a gift from Gnon.”

The Great Awokening has no central truths. Everything is fluid.

If someone with a cell phone captures you on video during a heated political argument, prepare to lose your business… then watch as your spouse is also fired from his job. Say nothing and submit, and hope the Wokists pass over your home on their way to more prominent targets. Woke Capitalism means that almost every major company (except, paradoxically, Domino’s Pizza?) will fire you if the mob asks them to. And you cannot predict with decent accuracy what might trigger that mob, or cause them to notice you. Even the insufficiently-Leftist J.K. Rowling stands at the edge of the Woke precipice. If you’re black, your skin color does not protect you from the mob. If you’re a Leftist, your previous utility to the cause does not protect you. The mob has no rules, except that it demands submission to its tribe.

The Great Awokening might as well call itself Submission. Wait… isn’t there already a religion that calls itself that?

My friends, we are witnessing in real-time the birth of a new religion, and I feel rather like the Symmachi, or Julian the Apostate as Christianity spread like a great wave across the Mediterranean Sea, at last conquering the Roman Empire that, once upon a time, tried so hard to suppress it. Only where Christianity offered forgiveness and eternal life, Wokism brings only eternal guilt and damnation. Only temporary respite may ever be gained from it. Today’s loyal Antifa soldier will be tomorrow’s mob target.

Am I overstating my position? No, I don’t think so. Watch as the Woke participate in the washing of the feet. Watch as they chain themselves together to apologize for things they have never done. And notice, still, that their position at the bottom of the progressive stack – as the eternally damned – is never changed. You may submit, and gain temporary respite from the mob. But sooner or later, racist, you will be judged guilty again. You are privileged. All white people are racist. All men are sexist. All cisgenders are transphobes, and so on. The SocJus claim is that systemic and unconscious bias can never be fully eradicated. By being Woke, you become aware of your sin, but you are never forgiven for it, nor is there any redemption from it.

This unique twist on Original Sin – without the possibility of salvation – marks this belief system as something new, a sort of Post-Christian heresy, shorn of God, torn from the divine – a not-religion that somehow fulfills the same emotional purpose of a religion. A faith that requires no faith, only constant self-loathing. This not-faith gains new adherents by twisting out-of-context Bible quotes and spouting them at people who can summon no moral defense that does not awaken the wrath of the mob. “God is love!” Yeah, God is also the guy who thought the Canaanites sacrificing children to Moloch made them worthy of destruction at the hands of the Israelites.

Again, Zero HP Lovecraft captures it succinctly: “As with any religion, the faith with no name has its different theological schools, which even fight with each other. The major schools are queerism, feminism, and blackism, the latter of which is an ecumenism in which white people worship black people.”

In the current political climate, blackism is the leading denomination of Wokism.

In the Great Awokening, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has finally found a new god to replace the one they hate so much: a Lovecraftian horror created from the collective virtue signalling of the mob.

In the Great Awokening, Trump is the equivalent of Lucifer. Because, as Satanists heading to the Antifa rallies have explained: Lucifer was the good guy of that particular story. Clearly. He was fighting against the oppressive colonialism of God. But in any case, the Orange Man is now the stand-in, the eternal enemy. Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein given real flesh. Someday, they shall distribute the crimethink, the golden book of Trump, containing within it every heresy, every blasphemy uttered by the ancient politician. Itself the only monument to the old world permitted by the Woke.

The ghost of Rick Wilson will smile with pride.

Police Overreach, Rioting, and a Noxious Rhetorical Climate

Unless you’ve been living under a very impressive rock – like a bad Brendan Fraser movie about people stuck in a bunker for decades – you know about this George Lloyd business. I’ve seen the video. If you haven’t, you should do so. It is pretty incriminating for the officers involved. I’ve never been much of a thin blue line kind of guy, but I definitely check out here. I know two very good friends who have been screwed over by exceptionally bad police overreach. Francis, over at Bastion of Liberty, surely knows one of them – he is a friend we have in common.

Police petty tyranny has been growing worse in recent years, and we add to that a certain tendency of some urban police departments to engage in soldier-LARPing behavior, well the problem only gets worse. Add to that the condition of various inner-city black communities, the current political climate of race-baiting social justice activism, and the fact that COVID-19 lockdowns have surely driven people mad with boredom and lack of social contact, and you have a perfect storm for this rioting behavior.

It’s hard to blame it on any one thing, save that the poor behavior of the officers in question surely struck a match and stuck it firmly in a powder keg of epic proportions. Personally, I am exhausted of this repeating cycle, which has been a thing since at least the early 90s and the Rodney King riots. Questionable police behavior (sometimes not really so bad, and other times absolutely inexcusably idiotic) leads to racial animus, which results in barbaric looting behavior. We’re all spiraling toward a singularity of stupid, the gravity pulling us deep into a descending orbit, too strong for any of us to escape.

Political rhetoric has become absolutely poisonous. Sure, it was bad in 2016, but this year it grows worse, and I grow weary of it. Every discussion even coming anywhere near a political point is liable to turn into a land mine. Friendships are breaking. Families are cracking. America is burning and creaking at the seams. I don’t know how much longer this dysfunctional system is going to continue to limp along. We may be witnessing its slow death. Or maybe we’ll bounce back again, and our country will be undone at some unspecified point in the future. It’s hard to say.

With the election approaching, I think it’s only going to get worse.

Sadly, I think underneath all the nuclear-level rhetoric, the unleashed ids, the emotional appeals and post-hoc rationalization, both sides of the American political spectrum are clutching a piece of the truth. I’m not sure how many people want to hear that, but I’ve become convinced that it is true. I posted the following summary on Twitter earlier:

  1. In general, policing has gone very bad in many ways.
  2. Black communities in most major cities suck.
  3. At least some of the suck is self-inflicted.
  4. I despair of any of that changing in the near future.
  5. We’ll be here again. And again
  6. Racial profiling is almost certainly a thing.
  7. It is not without some rational basis.
  8. Both facts poison interactions between cops and blacks.
  9. White liberal race-baiting doesn’t help.
  10. Neither does ‘thin blue line’ garbage.
  11. No political faction wants to tell the whole truth because it will piss off constituents who don’t want to hear it.
  12. Both major factions possess at least some components of the truth.
  13. I feel like some character in Battlestar Galactica. “All of this has happened before.”

The black communities in most major cities are littered with problems. Violence, crime rates, economic depression – you name it. Rightists are right about that. Leftists want to blame white racism, but that doesn’t hold up to investigation. Surely, even if Leftists believe racism to still be bad even they must acknowledge that it is far less bad than, say, the Jim Crow era. Why do these problems continue? Why do we see so little progress? I was rereading Larry Elder’s Ten Things You Can’t Say in America today after a debate with a Leftist on this subject, and it struck me how little had changed since then on matters of race, saving that acrimony continues to worsen. The same issues from 20 years ago are little changed today. What gives?

Police officers know this as well as anyone. Let’s be real, they certainly do racially profile (the Left is right about this); stereotypes about violent crime have a basis in fact, and cops know it. And, from the other direction, blacks certainly are inclined to see cops as the enemy, the attitude leaks into police interactions all the time. Combine those two factors, and the chances of an interaction going bad increase dramatically. And when that happens, prepare for protests that, likewise escalate in severity. Riots, looting, mob interactions – all intermingling with the still-peaceful (but emotional and crazy) main element – while the cops either stay on the sidelines as Rome burns, or escalate the situation even more themselves.

In some ways, it almost doesn’t matter that this particular policing incident really was bad. If it had been a legitimate death, it still had the potential to flare up into what we have today. We are at the point that any police interaction with the black community has the potential of blowing up into a national orgy of combined protest-riots. This one is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. There is a protest scheduled down the street from where I live tomorrow – it is likely they won’t bother my neighborhood (it is known that a lot of military folks live around here), but even the potential is strange to me. There were burnings and lootings all over Tampa Bay, especially in the University Mall/Temple Terrace area.

Tampa is not exactly a city known for rioting behavior. I cannot imagine how bad it must be in other major cities.

And we’re not even halfway through 2020 yet. The election looms over us, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues (and may be exacerbated by the riots – we don’t know yet), and political rhetoric has reached levels that make 2016 look like a picnic in the park. We may solve the police overreach issue – though I really doubt it, now – but the broader issue about any police interaction with the black community potentially triggering national riots remains no matter what might be done about that. I think we’re well beyond the ability to solve this in any constructive manner.

I’d like to be wrong. I’d like for someone to pour some water on this fire, to rein in police overreach, to deal with qualified immunity, poor recruiting, travesties like civil asset forfeiture, etc… I’d also like to take us back from 5 minutes until midnight on the racial rioting clock. But I doubt either will happen anytime soon.

Like I said, I feel like it’s an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and I’m reciting the catchphrase. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Again. Again. Again…

 

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