politics

Spoken Like a True Dictator

I am at a loss for words. Nothing I say can possibly articulate how angry, helpless, and sad I feel at this moment in time. The images of George Floyd’s murder, the worldwide protests, the brutality, the burning of buildings… Every day the news makes my head spin and my heart ache. Where do we go from here?

This is one of the videos that made me cry today. I am proud of these brave children, putting themselves out there and demanding to be heard regardless of the consequences. And Trump wants to unleash the military on them by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807?

You’ve probably listened to the private conference call between state governors and The Chief Hypocrite by now. Referring to protesters as “terrorists” and “thugs” comes as no surprise because we are accustomed to 45’s inflammatory rhetoric. Let’s hope that the “Candidate of Chaos,” as he was described during the NPR politics podcast yesterday, is removed from office before the end of this year. What kind of a leader fans the flames at a time when the nation needs healing? Or seizes a photo op in front of a church, posing with the Bible used as a political prop, just minutes after clearing the pathway of peaceful protesters with teargas and flash bangs?

You have everybody on tape, you gotta arrest all those people, you gotta try them. And if they get five years or ten years, they have to get five years or ten years. There’s no retribution. So I say that and the word is dominate. If you don’t dominate your city and your state, they’re gonna walk away with you. And we’re doing it in Washington, in DC, we’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before. But we’re going to have total domination. 

Donald Trump- See transcript of call with governors

Words spoken like a true dictator.

Cincinnati (my hometown) is among over 100 cities holding protests. A list of demands have been presented to officials including a “call for Ray Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati Police officer who killed Sam DuBose in 2015, to be brought to justice by local and federal officials.” See the full local news report here.

It is surreal to be in Ireland while watching protesters congregating where I literally grew up. The apartment I lived in on McMillan St. has been demolished, but the gas station beside it is still operating. I recognized the parking lot in the video footage because I played there as a child. Clifton was my neighborhood until I was nearly 11 years old. Over the weekend it looked like a war zone.

The curfew in Cincinnati continues today. It starts at 8PM (EST) and ends Wednesday morning. It has been in effect since Saturday. So far no one I know has been arrested.

Despite the pandemic and continued lockdown restrictions in Ireland, between 2000-4000 protesters also flooded the streets of Dublin yesterday to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Organizers are being investigated and risk prosecution because of breached Covid19 rules.

My social media has blown up with people commenting about what’s happening. Most are supportive and share my distress about the injustice of systemic racism in the USA. Others, however, are locked in their narrow mindsets. Unfortunately I am related to people who still say things like “All Lives Matter,” while clinging to their white privilege without ever acknowledging its existence. (If you’re questioning why that phrase is offensive, read this explanation here). It makes me want to repeatedly bang my head on a wall trying to get through to my relatives. Or sever ties with them once and for all to preserve my sanity. My partner is losing “friends” because he is calling them out on Facebook for similar bullshit. I’m not just talking about Trump supporters either- some of the liberals are equally misguided. Look at Karen.

White violence transcends party lines and political ideology.” –Nylah Burton

Please read this powerful piece A Letter to Friends Who Really Want to End Racism by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson). She asks important questions about the interactions between Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper. Read it, share it, talk about it.

Trevor Noah, of the Daily Show, saw that incident as a catalyst, and I think he’s right.

While Trevor Noah empathizes and makes a case to rationalize the frustration of angry looters, former President Barack Obama says otherwise.

 So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.

Barack Obama

He’s right of course. But part of me wants to set the whole world on fire so we can start again. Burn it down so we can build it back up.

Since arson isn’t really a long term solution, I hope American citizens will take the former president’s advice:

So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.

I’m ready to cast my ballot. Are you?

Feature Photo Credit: Rochelle Brown

10 thoughts on “Spoken Like a True Dictator

  1. Well said. I also love what Trevor Noah said and he was spot on, and watched that video twice the past few days.

    I don’t watch much news anymore, especially the 24 hr networks, so I’ve missed a few things, I know. That video of the kids and the police line was something else. So many people talk about how crappy the new generation’s going to turn out. Honestly, I think they’ve got their stuff together and their morals in a good spot, far better than their parents or grandparents. Millennials (and I am one, an older one) get the flack for being selfish and lazy, but I’ve noticed most of the “Karen”s out there are just a bit older than me, either the earliest Milennials or the generation before. That age gap and older is still clinging to the established order the most. I find it funny when a 7 year old disapproves of mom or dad’s outrageous behavior, and when it’s Karen-ing, racism, theft… it gives me hope.

    I worry about their prospects, certainly, and how the economy is going to do for them. But as far as their morality goes, I’m hopeful they’ll make things good. Kids know this is wrong. Hard to argue with that. Now if we can just get the clingy old leeches out of power that don’t realize it’s time to go, that they’ve done enough, who knows what could happen? More youth in the congress. Til then, keep protesting and voting, especially at the local levels. That will help the change.

    Be safe out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I have hope for the youth too. I was born at the end of Gen X. My older kids are Gen Z (although the oldest was a few years off from being a Millennial), and my youngest is Gen Alpha. Honestly, I think every era has its groundbreakers as well as those who fear change. Rebecca Solnit- historian, writer, and activist- has written about how progress isn’t always linear. We are certainly living through tumultuous times! I liked what you expressed about being hopeful. Hope will get us through… Stay safe and well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. part of me still wants to go find a time machine, go back to find the Chinese scholar who said “may you live in interesting times” and give him a wedgie. Okay, he didn’t invent the double-edged sword there, but it would make me feel a tiny bit better for five minutes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem with Americas lethal version of racism is that it’s always been a problem, a problem made worse by the Racist in Chief who spoon feeds the far right. President Toddler is the wrong child, in the wrong job, at the worst point in time in recent history. I would rip out and eat my own liver if that Donald KKK Trump fixed institutional racism in America

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    1. I agree. Trump’s MAGA slogan is thinly veiled racism in itself. We know what he and his supporters mean by making America “great” again…They could not bear to have a black president, and Trump’s election was part of the backlash. I have wanted to read We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates since it was published. I am planning to buy it as well as some books on colorism and other non-fiction by black authors.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It certainly was the polar opposite, and not just in skin tone. They also opted to replace one of the most education presidents for one that would be luckily to graduate kindergarden

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  4. We are for sure living through tumultuous times. At times like this I wonder whether people really learn from their mistakes. Remember the Rodney King riots sparked by police brutality? I was working and living in Georgia when that happened back in 1992. When the leaders with power are racist what hope does that society have? I loved what Trevor Noah said about the social contract and how if it no longer protects you then there is nothing left to do but protest. I get the violence too but for there to be real lasting change it has to happen peacefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do remember the Rodney King riots. That was the last time the Insurrection Act was invoked back in 1992. It must have been strange living in a southern state at that time. I was still in high school in Ohio and clearly remember the injustice of it all. I was raised to believe in peaceful protesting and fully supported Colin Kaepernick taking the knee. Only now are the NFL managers acknowledging how they “mishandled” players protesting. Why all of a sudden are they backpedaling? Because of the uprising we’re currently seeing. It’s also taken the riots to finally bring down at least 3 Confederate monuments in the past couple of weeks (after many years of people demanding it peacefully without success). Looking back on history, it’s the exception rather than the norm where peaceful protesting has brought about change unfortunately. The American Revolution, The French Revolution, and the American Civil War come to mind. That said I do hope we can learn from the past and find a non-violent way forwards as you suggested.🤞🏽

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking about The American Civil Rights movement, The Suffragette movement’s and Gandhi’s non violent resistance to the British. Having said that I think you’re right they started out non violent but ended with violence sadly. Power doesn’t just relinquish its hold without a huge shift. Education and truth about Colonialism would be a good start. I heard very little about this during my childhood education and when it did crop up it was always from the white perspective.

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      2. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Those in power often want to preserve the status quo. I think this moment is big because so many people are collectively examining their own biases and relearning history. Suddenly other perspectives are being presented and those who have traditionally been silenced are being heard. I’m inspired by the masses of people coming together right now. I think change starts on an individual level. With so many people waking up and fighting injustice I feel hopeful about the future.

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