Hey America. Are you doing okay? It’s been a while since I checked in on you and your wacky shenanigans. I’ve been focussed the Great British Decline into corruption, isolation, environmental disaster, and a Prime Minister more conversant in Peppa Pig than PMQ’s. It’s been…. stressful. For distraction, I look to the news from the States and I really have to ask….
Are you okay? Should I call someone? Because from over here, it looks like things are about to shatter over there.
Kyle Rittenhouse was found Not Guilty. In a trial where the people who were shot could not be referred to as ‘victims,’ but could be called ‘rioters’ or ‘attackers.’ Rittenhouse claimed self defence, even though his first target was unarmed and his second armed with a skateboard. Rittenhouse went out of his way to create the situation, then claimed to be the victim. White Privilege at work, not just because of the trial outcome, but because there was a trial at all. A black teenager with an assault rifle would never have made it to trial, would never have been arrested, would have most likely been shot on site by the police.
Actually, a black man wouldn’t even have to be armed, as shown in Ahmaud Arbery case. Three rednecks in a pickup truck chased down a man out for a run. When they knew he wasn’t a threat, they got out of the truck and shot him. They are trying to portray it as a Citizen’s Arrest (based on laws dating back to the 1860’s). It looks more like a lynching. The Defence keeps asking for the Black Pastors who are there to support the Arbery family to be removed. Their presence is ‘intimidating.’ I suppose when you know you’ve done wrong, someone with moral authority would be intimidating. The trial is nearly over. If these men are found Not Guilty, if white privilege wins again, the George Floyd protests will look like a Sunday School parade.
By the way, this is the sort of thing discussed in Critical Race Theory. Systemic biases and injustices. It’s a complicated and nuanced subject and is only taught at the college level. Despite what Republicans say, it’s not taught in grade school. But maybe it should be. Maybe if young people were given the vocabulary to discuss these things, the problems could be addressed or at least acknowledged. The current strategy of pretending racism doesn’t exist doesn’t work. White privilege again; Black, Asian, Muslim, Hispanic can’t pretend there’s no racism.
Republicans talk about a lot of things that aren’t true, ranging from the nonsensical to the catastrophic, hoping if they repeat the lies often enough, they will become true, and they already live as though these alternative facts are real. That’s why there can be no compromise in Government; the Republicans are living in an alternate Universe Trump Fanfiction, and there is no room for the following facts.
- The election was not stolen.
- Voter fraud, where it does exist, is almost always to benefit the Republicans.
- January 6th was an insurrection. They were not tourists with a grievance. They erected a Gallows. They climbed through windows. They brought Zip ties to cuff lawmakers. They beat police with flagpoles. They were incited to this by Trump and his lackeys.
- Baby Carrots are real, they are harvested early. This was an issue so important to Kevin McCarthy, he addressed the House about it.
Then there are the nonsense issues; Big Bird got vaccinated and Ted Cruz called it Propaganda. Then Sesame Street introduced an Asian American puppet. Conservatives labelled this ‘an attempt to indoctrinate children.’ Indoctrinate them to what? The knowledge that Asian Americans exist?
The country is struggling economically, politically, socially, in hospitals, in the courts and in the streets. The Republicans are actively obstructing the Build Back Better bill, which would address at least some of these problems. Instead of proposing solutions, they have declared war on Sesame Street. Sesame Street has been banned from CPAC. Are they usually a major presence there? I don’t think Big Bird will missed at the conference; There are enough muppets there already.
Even the still somewhat sane Republicans are so far out of step with most Americans. 62% of Americans do not want Roe v Wade overturned. 60% are in favour of Universal healthcare. 75% support LGBTQ rights. 80% believe human activity is fuelling Climate Change. 68% support a wealth tax (that figure should, by all logic, be 99%). 67% support a $15 minimum wage.
But holding onto power means keeping people down, and keeping them divided. You can’t protest if you’re too exhausted from working 3 jobs at poverty wages. You can’t organise when you’ve been indoctrinated to distrust all your potential allies.
But things are getting worse. Everyone is on edge. In the wake of the Rittenhouse verdict, leaders are encouraging people to ‘be armed, be dangerous.’ The political divisions make the Grand Canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk. What happens next? Another civil war? The Break up of the Union? Things that ten years ago would have been ridiculous now seem…. not far out of the realm of possibility.
I don’t have any solutions. Just be careful, America. we’re worried about you.