As the largest protest movement continues to take place across the US, there are always those who will pick apart every minute detail to find any single act, any single person, that they can point at and dismiss the whole thing as “violent riots”. From the classic “he was no angel” in reference to George Floyd and other murdered black people to “I supported the protests at first but now they’re all looting and burning down buildings”, the online discourse can get Orwellian quickly. Perhaps the most alarming example is the fact some infamous commentators are calling to elect (yes, elect, not “re-elect”) Trump to “fix it”.
Let’s start off simple. These protests have, since day one, had millions of people taking to the streets in various cities across the US. If these were “riots” full of thieves and arsonists, then quite frankly the country would probably be gone by now. While in the first few days of the protests, and perhaps sporadically since, there were opportunists and rogue elements intent on creating chaos for personal gain, the large majority of people then, and especially now, have not incited violence. In fact, there have been a number of cases where the peaceful protestors have worked to prevent and stop people from carrying out such acts.
For one, not only is unprovoked violence or destruction of property (the latter always seems to make the poor “right-wing people upset, unlike the murders which they justify) a stupid and counterproductive tactic, it straight up hurts the movement. Purely from an optics perspective, if your cause, whether that be Black Lives Matter or anything else, can be pointed to as a source of violence, that will be used against you. That is why almost all of the protestors are peaceful, and why so many do explicitly condemn actions that are contrary to the movement.
And yet, for all of these efforts, there have been cases of violence – how curious. Maybe that has to do with most instances being instigated by the police, or vigilantes masquerading as “militias”. Some 17-year-old kid called Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged after he went to another State with an unlawfully carried firearm (this was the Kenosha incident, following the murder of Jacob Blake). The last update on that I heard was that he, without reason, had begun to threaten people by aiming and waving said firearm around. The situation escalated, he killed two people, injured another, then proceeded to walk by police still holding the weapon.
In some unsavoury circles, Rittenhouse is being praised as a hero. A Republican Congressman said he had shown “great restraint”, his lawyer (a QAnon believer) claimed he had acted in self-defence, and online commentators have defended his actions. Those same commentators have, every time a black person has been murdered by the police, justified the killing and done everything they can to blame the victims and Black Lives Matter.
Most of the deaths that have taken place throughout the duration of the protests have been the deaths of protestors, not police, “militias”, or the precious business owners. And yet the deaths have been used as “proof” that the “radical left” are calling for more and more violence.
Where the narrative really gets bizarre is who these people blame on a political level. Of course, it is those Marxist radical Democrats who support the riots. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, along with the rest of the Party, are at fault for all of this disorder. It is the Democratic Governors and mayors that have rejected Federal assistance and called for police to stand down. It is the “left” that is supporting a violent movement under the guise of racial justice.
There’s a lot to unpack here.
Firstly, Donald Trump is the President. Donald Trump has been the President for almost four years now. All of these “riots” and protests have been taking place under his presidency. To try and blame the Democrats, who are not in power, for national violence (if it were happening the way they believe) is dumbfounding.
Second, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a very clear stance on the Black Lives Matter protests, and it isn’t about throwing fists and shooting white people. They have gone very much out of their way to distance themselves from the violence, condemning it regardless of who carries it out. They have, however, voiced their support for the movement as a whole, and Harris has stated that they will probably continue up to and beyond the election in November. Some, however, will take nothing less than open support for police brutality and white supremacy as acceptable. Anything else is advocating for… whatever devious things Black Lives Matter is doing, I guess?
Third, of course Democratic Governors and mayors have rejected “assistance” from the Trump administration. Unmarked troops were sent to Portland against the wishes of the State of Oregon and look what happened there. Up until the point said troops were pulled out, the violence had escalated, not lessened. They were the direct cause of tension and were not sent there to make friends with peaceful protestors. Trump’s “assistance” resulted in way more harm taking place. Similarly, in places where police have been called back, there is significantly less tension and violence.
It’s almost like it is the police and other State law enforcement personnel are the catalysts for turmoil, not protestors…
Despite all of that, those who oppose Black Lives Matter will come up with any reason to continue opposing it and support Donald Trump, even if he and the police are the issue. They see him as the solution, and therefore people must vote for him to ensure he wins. There does not even seem to be the slightest understanding that Trump is the incumbent, a fact probably due to Trump’s rhetoric, acting somewhat as if he were campaigning as a candidate instead of as the sitting President.
Removing the Democrats, who are not in power, from power is the path to ending these “riots”, we are told. Trump will “fix” everything, from the economy to the social tensions, even though he has absolutely destroyed both in such an impressively short amount of time. Trump is no saviour, unless you consider his shattering of the façade (intentional or not) to be an achievement in itself.
While I don’t see it turning into some doomsday scenario or “second Civil War”, like some alarmingly keen provocateurs appear to want, these events, like many of the past few years, will shape the future of the US and probably the world (because that’s just how Empire works, sadly). The only thing that is certain is that Trump needs to be removed from office this coming election, not kept in. That means voting in the dawdling neoliberal hack over the wannabe, and close to it, fascist in the White House.
Until then, the current problems are Trump’s, not anyone else’s.
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