A Tale of Two Protests
“First of all, leaders are rare. A man is not made a leader by the mass media of this country.” James Baldwin, Esquire Magazine Interview 1968
I encourage to you read the interview above. There is wisdom there. But this quote struck me. 80 million followers on Twitter doesn’t make a man a leader or even a good person. We are leaderless and desperate.
Yesterday I wrote that I wanted Barack Obama to speak to the country because clearly our Twitter president is not up to the job. Last night I saw Katie Couric do the same and then Jemele Hill’s response.
I was wrong. I have been hoping that someone with real stature, a former president for example, would break precedent and speak very directly about the danger we are in as a country and call on Trump to resign. We are in the midst of a pandemic that has killed 103,000 Americans, there are 40M Americans out of work, protests of police violence against African Americans across the country and yet there are so few calling for his resignation. I don’t understand. I didn’t call on Obama because he is black, but because I miss his calm, compassionate leadership and his soaring rhetoric and I hoped it might save lives that are in danger at these protests either from police or a virus that has taken a much higher toll on the Black community. I called on Obama because of his stature and platform. George W. Bush doesn’t have it, Bill Clinton is damaged goods, and Jimmy Carter is just really, really old. But we cannot keep calling on Black Americans to try to solve the problems that live in the white community. We just don’t have so many heroes… we spend some much time tearing them down. I guess we have Taylor Swift. Sigh.
Sometimes we step in it. Sometimes we say things without imagining how someone who comes at it from a very different experience hears it. But if we can listen and learn when someone gives you feedback, we will all be better for it. So to take an example from earlier this week – put yourself in Central Park with your dog. When someone asks you to follow the rules, imagine yourself saying, “I’m sorry” and then leashing the dog. When someone tells you that what you said hurt or upset them, apologize, ask questions, learn something.
There are many tales and video of hideous behavior from police and fuckery from chaos agents, white supremacists and people traveling to cities specifically to pull protest toward riot. Footage of an NYPD officer throwing a woman to the ground, another opening a passenger door in a moving car to hit a pedestrian, Minnesota police arresting Omar Jimenez on the air and Louisville police shooting either rubber bullets or pepper bullets at a news crew while they were broadcasting and multiple videos of spraying pepper spray out the window of a moving police cruiser. There have been children dressed up as soldiers in Atlanta which makes me worry about involvement of fringe hate groups, a white man in a hoodie and a gas mask carrying an umbrella on a sunny day smashing windows at the AutoZone in Minneapolis and many other reports.
The police response to the protests just makes the systemic problem that much clearer. The below image from CNN: The protest pictures alone tell the story of America’s racial hierarchy Don’t forget, those protesters standing face to face INSIDE Michigan’s capitol building were armed with semi-automatic weapons.
Jemele Hill on Twitter
Nah, sis. We gotta let people sit in this the long way. Gotta stop putting the burden on black people to solve, soothe, fix, what is a disease. https://t.co/RZkjXEOycT
Taylor Swift on Twitter
After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November. @realdonaldtrump
Shannon Watts on Twitter
Any newspapers or Republicans or even Democrats calling on the President to resign this morning? America is waiting.
‘Member how I said all of the draft dodgers and military cosplay enthusiasts like to talk about ‘wartime’…
Donald J. Trump on Twitter
Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis will never be mistaken for the late, great General Douglas McArthur or great fighter General George Patton. How come all of these places that defend so poorly are run by Liberal Democrats? Get tough and fight (and arrest the bad ones). STRENGTH!