I am not sure what mode of political thought is healthier for me. There is: (a) A regular consumption of news and podcasts and reacting immediately in some fashion (yelling at my phone, firing off emails to whomever whether they want to read my blowup rants or not, impulsively sending donations to whatever is “Pod Save America’s” latest vehicle of choice, etc); or (b) limiting my news consumption, skipping the day-to-day soap opera-like twists and turns, and letting any knowledge that does break through sit with me and build until an overall general theme develops and then react. Choice (a) would bring me daily irritation and what seem like daily minor strokes. Choice (b) makes my short term thinking bearable but could cause a massive blow up when my outrage storage gets well past full.
This update for you is born from the (b) perspective method as I have tried to calmly observe the racial justice uprising. My observations brought me some encouragement as the marches did continue with a still heavy Caucasian participation. But, have you noticed something since last weekend? Replacing the news coverage of Juneteenth marches has been the president’s Tulsa meltdown, the brazen wickedness of the most corrupt Attorney General in the history of ever and resurgence of The Corona. While focus is happily in the anti-Trump corner, the racial justice fever is quietly breaking. Leading with the “Defund the Police” chants, which caused every Democrat above age 45 to scramble away from that motto or reading their Vox.com explainer to calm well-meaning white allies’ fears of dismantling all police departments of this nation, was probably not wise. Face it, when your argument begins with, “...Let me explain what we really mean...” (this time in regards to “Defund...”), you have already lost your audience. That slogan must be taken back to the shop and reworked, so the new motto is ready when the next black person is killed while a smartphone records (you know at least one or two more are coming before 2020 is over). Moscow Mitch has called the GOP’s usual play in these situations: (1) Ignore the situation as much as possible; (2) when a reporter chases you down, express mild sadness and muted outrage about the incident you could have prevented by doing your job; (3) make a show of addressing the issue by having a “committee” create some milk toast bill that has big words that mean nothing and will never be voted on (this time with the horribly cynical cover of having their one black republican embarrass himself by “leading” the writing of that nonsense); and (4) keep your head low until news cycle heads to something else. It is the same play for any mass shooting (including 26 CHILDREN killed in CT) and anything else done by powerful whites with power caught on video. Works every time.
The good part of the American psyche, however, is now pretty tender. This current urgency is passing. This is a horrible thing to say out loud (and will not be the last sinful rawness I will be sharing here), but, the conditions are supreme for this to occur again and mean something. It is evil to put this thought into the universe, but, in late September and October, America, have your smartphone cameras ready to roll. An incident of police brutality on a black person will be occurring before the next election, but it will only matter if it caught by some video device not attached to the officer’s body. If this were to occur on the eve of the most important election since...well, 2012 and 2016, the environment is ripe for that occurrence to be the “finishing move” (a professional wrestling term) to finally get to a higher level of the racial justice pyramid.
But, let’s get to what truly matters. I had a epiphany a month ago. My in-laws, Melanie, and I were discussing politics at the dinner table (not advisable whatsoever, but every meal here begins with my mother-in-law (Edy) asking, “...Did you hear what Trump said today?”). Biden had just made his “You ain’t black” stupidity. I, in a fit of arrogance and unusual spiritual clarity, claimed that this election will be decided by one thing only. The president (and his lemming-like GOP) brought all pressure to bear to end the quarantines and “reopen the economy” while his disease expert scientists more than warned it would be a BIG mistake to do so. I proclaimed that it was now “Trump vs Fauci”. Whoever turned out to be right decides the election. If reopening the economies of the states prematurely did not cause another surge of COVID, for whatever reasons (ie - most of America is rural and might not be as vulnerable to community spread, etc), this would be considered a sinful NY problem, scientists are always too cautious, and the GOP are bold leaders (with the president leading them all). If the infections surged, there would be NO ESCAPE from full blame for the president and his GOP. There is no one else to blame or lies to tell and get away with it. Not this time. All other political debates these days are a matter of subjective opinion, which opens the door for “alternative facts”. This illness, though, is too real. If it returned, everyone will know someone within four degrees of themselves who were effected. And, this is the only circumstance where republicans find religion (in a sense). They (as a party and a people) have no empathy until sadness actually happens to them personally. Observe how, for one example, opioid addiction is a health emergency with recovery programs to be mandatorily covered by insurance. I feel the same way about their addiction now the way they felt about “inner-city” addictions in the 80’s and 90’s that ravaged the black populace. I don’t care. Hey, maybe they should just say, “No” to drugs, right?
Sorry, I digressed. You have to understand how uncomfortable it makes me feel to be so definitively optimistic this early. But, this coronavirus gave the world (and this country in particular) a simple choice. Shut everything down, wear a damn face covering, and try to be physically distant from each other for a long enough time for a vaccine to be made. This president failed to lead this country to ANY of these paths, and it is plainly obvious. Saying this is China’s fault only leads to the (very proper) Biden’s question, “But, what did you do, Mr. President?” What is so sad to me? As I read the news of record infection outbreaks (especially in GOP states FL and TX), I have had to restrain myself from feeling too much morbid and unholy glee. Shame on me, indeed, but you know what? This is the price those states pay by hating Hillary so much to vote for dumbest reality show clown possible to be the president. Hmmmm, seems like some chickens are heading their way and, boy, it sure looks like they are positioning for some roosting. Elections: they still eventually have consequences...
END OF PART I - TO BE CONTINUED LATER WITH PART II (Title: “Don’t F#%k This Up, Grandpa Joe...”)