It wasn’t until I impulsively clicked on an MSNBC livestream out of Santa Monica that it dawned on me. I had assumed the position of effete American leftists–especially in the media–would be to endorse an attitude of ‘anything goes’ regarding the George Floyd backlash. But there they were, bemoaning the destruction of The Sake House and gasping as rioters tried to pull a hose out of a firefighters’ grasp. A guest commentator even noted that every box of free sneakers carried out of shattered windows is another few thousand new votes for Trump. In short, their take (that these are bad optics with the potential to put civil rights back incalculably) was indistinguishable from the take being given on Fox News.
Homogeny among MSNBC and Fox, I pondered? What is this–9/11? Traumatic imagery seems to be the only way to shift the fairly indifferent Silent Majority of U.S. moderates in a particular direction. Just days ago, one would have assumed the imagery in question would be, and would remain, Floyd’s murder. The total destruction of a Minneapolis police precinct came and went without batting an eye. Fair enough, the collective consciousness whispered. But the ensuing footage, like B-roll from The Purge, wherein familiar streets and amenities are pillaged and plundered against the Floyd family’s wishes has proved a bridge too far. The message is clear:
BLM, Antifa–you can burn police stations if you want; they can fend for themselves. But don’t you lay a goddamned finger on my Starbucks & McDonalds.
The uniquely leftist way of saying this is, arguably, “Sure, Black Lives Matter–but can’t they Matter without inconveniencing me?”
This reaction, though surprising even to a cynic such as myself, isn’t at all unprecedented. The American psyche is not at all as unpredictable and bipolar as its political extremists sometimes make it seem. At the end of the day, it is a corporation-country. Sometimes you have to indulge a strike, maybe even some Luddite sabotage, but eventually everyone is going back to work, or else.
The fact that the National Guard has not yet been ordered to open fire on looters (despite hollow tweets to that effect) perhaps signifies that the corporation’s patience still has reserves. I think this patience is due–sad to say–to the arguable fact that the role of these looters within said corporation is to wind up in prison. And wind up there they shall, no matter how many times our benevolent bosses decide to let them go. Even if a few get to keep their new plasma TVs and stay free long enough to enjoy them, what is that compared to the astounding budgetary benefits police are going to gain from these temper tantrums? We thought they were militarized before? What do you suppose they will look like once every station is outfitted to repel a city-wide assault? We may have meant to say to police, ‘look here, stop killing unarmed civilians!’ But what they heard was, ‘hey, become so terrifying that you don’t have to kill unarmed civilians.’
As for Trump, the only way he doesn’t get 4 more years* is if he is no longer corporeal (and if that happens, the Republican fallback may well be the Fascistic nightmare that American leftists have long fantasized Trump is). He is getting his Conservative Supreme Court, the NRA is going to eat other special interest lobbyists’ lunches for decades to come, and any newfangled economic recovery methods he (or should I say Jared) thinks up is getting passed. Optional: Israel finishes its plans for Palestine, knowing they will never have a better opportunity again.
Walking to a vandalized church, Bible in hand…God, that’s good. Our Left have been so worried about ‘institutionalized racism’ that they forgot the possibility of causing its far more personal renaissance. They spoke of the devil until he appeared. Although, this time around I expect it will be far more class than color based. The days of the bedsheet wearers are behind us; the days of those with something to lose making sure they are ready to dispatch any irksome have-nots has only just begun. The corporation is restructuring, and our urban department is about to get downsized.
RIP George Floyd. RIP Tony Timpa.
*…OK, if they hijack Biden at the convention with an Oprah/Obama ticket, it won’t be that easy.