Sunday, August 30, 2020

Condemn Violence. Period.

The Democratic ticket is going down the wrong road.  In a tweet now unavailable, an individual with 142,000 followers sensibly asks

Legitimately confused how conservatives can blame anybody else for violence when there is literally video of a caravan of Trump supporters running red lights with their oversized pickups, shooting passersby by paintballs and mace.

There are two reasons conservatives can legitimately, albeit unjustifiably, blame the left for violence which most evidence indicates is instigated or perpetrated by right-wingers or ideologically uncommitted anarchists. The first is represented by the report Saturday that the previous evening

the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) activist group, along with its Milwaukee and Chicago chapters, held a rally and press conference in Kenosha alongside local protesters who have been out on the ground all week. The protest called for community control of policing, limiting the scope of police power and an end to “repressive and inhumane jailing tactics” that disproportionately incarcerate Black Americans.

This organization's response to violence- violence visible to the American people- is... less police and punishment.   The number of Democratic politicians who will condemn this, either by identifying the group or more generally, is zero.

The response of national Democrats to the violence in Kenosha has been tepid.  On Tuesday, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris stated

"We must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters. We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter, who was arrested for murder."

Harris recalled other Black Americans who have lost their lives to police violence, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

"People are rightfully angry and exhausted," Harris said. "And after the murders of Breonna, and George [Floyd], and Ahmaud, and so many others, it's no wonder people are taking to the streets. And I support them."

When the California senator says she supports "people taking (it) to the streets," people no longer are thinking peaceful demonstrators. They see rioters, and are not impressed that they are angry and exhausted.

The presidential nominee was only slightly better when the next day he remarked

“Burning down communities is not protest, it’s needless violence — violence that endangers lives, violence that guts businesses and shutters businesses that serve the community. That’s wrong.”

Biden said the wisest words he had heard so far on the matter came from Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson.

“She looked at the damage done in her community and said this, ‘This doesn’t reflect my son or my family. So let’s unite and heal, do justice, end the violence and end systemic racism in this country. Now.’”

Democrats must stymie President Trump's effort to make urban mayhem the focus, overtaking Covid-19, of the campaign, . Instead, voters- at least whites, of whom I am one- heard "Jacob Blake" and the conflation of "violence" and "systemic racism," in which the former appears to be justified in light of the latter.

Joe Biden, a moderate figure whose record on gun safety is strong, can more credibly than most give a major speech- perhaps akin to the Obama "race" speech- condemning disorder in Kenosha and elsewhere. Kyle Rittenhouse shouldn't have had a firearm. Violence- from whites, blacks, and everyone- is unacceptable and puts everyone at danger. It is rampant now- not with Obama, George W Bush, or Bill Clinton as President, but under President Donald J. Trump.

With his running mate at his side, Biden should put the Democratic ticket on the side of everyone, of any race, from any state, city, suburb, rural area or small town, who wants to be safe. And for at least this moment, he must put aside Jacob Blake, racism, and police. President Biden won't regret it.


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