Ignorance is No Excuse

I don’t have anything new to add to the ongoing conversation about the impending fall of the American Empire, but since this is my blog, I’m gonna sort out my thoughts here, hit that “publish” button, and wait patiently for people to unfriend me on facebook.

I will start with this, because it is fucking important: BLACK LIVES MATTER. Full stop.

Stop saying “ALL LIVES MATTER!” in response. There are thousand people who have already explained this better than I can, but would you go to a walkathon for Alzheimer’s Awareness and shout “ALL DISEASES MATTER!”? No, you wouldn’t. And if you would, you’re an asshole.

And besides, if you really believe all lives matter, then I assume you’ll agree that both the death penalty and the for-profit prison system should be abolished immediately. Spoiler alert: they fucking should.

After several days of watching and reading about unprovoked police violence against people exercising their constitutional right to protest peacefully, and against journalists exercising their constitutional right to report freely on the events, I’m at a near complete loss.

“What makes a person want to be a cop?” That’s a very good question, Poison Idea. I sure as shit don’t understand it.

“But, Joel” you ask, “what about the looting and the smashing windows?”

I don’t condone property damage and theft, but you know what I don’t condone even more? A piece of shit cop with a documented history of racism choking an unarmed man to death in front of witnesses because of a counterfeit $20 bill he was black. Fuck that guy, and fuck all of the other cops who looked on while it happened, and fuck any cop anywhere who doesn’t stand up and say “ENOUGH!” And if property damage and theft are more important to you than human life, then fuck you, too.

Windows can be fixed. Innocent people are dying. I wanna break some fuckin windows myself, and I didn’t even know George Floyd.

And besides all that, there’s plenty of evidence that the majority of the people causing damage are just using the protests as a way to create chaos and/or steal things. This includes white nationalist groups and paid instigators. (My friend Liz helpfully pointed out that I forgot to mention this. Thanks Liz!)

Here’s some helpful info, if you want to educate yourself on police violence: https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

And here’s a condensed version of this information: https://policeviolencereport.org/

And don’t even get me started on that pumpkin-headed, blubbery-assed, tiny-handed, puckered-up-butthole-mouthed toddler currently lowering the property value at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He is not a good person, he is not “presidential”, he is obviously not a Christian, he does not have good intentions in his head or in his heart, and he clearly does not care about anyone other than himself. His language since his campaign began has been loaded with violence, and it’s only gotten worse. And now he’s tear-gassing peaceful protesters so he can clear the way for a photo op to pander to his base.

It’s a picture book.

He is doing nothing to help this situation, he is on the wrong side of history, and anyone who continues to support him will be, too. If that upsets you, good. See if he’ll let you hide with him in his bunker while the world evolves around y’all.

And look here: I’ve been on the receiving end of discrimination in the past. In elementary school and junior high (and, to a lesser extent, in high school) I was harrassed by people for my long hair, and for the music I listened to. As a broad-shouldered adult man with a pretty large beard, I’ve been subject to suspicious looks in airports (especially when I’m wearing a metal t-shirt) and plenty of jokes about how I “look like a terrorist” (my usual response: “just because I’m white doesn’t mean I look like Dick Cheney”).

But you know what? None of that amounts to a pimple on a whale’s ass compared to what people of color have dealt with for centuries. I’ve never feared for my life because of the color of my skin. That is my privelege, and I own it. I grew up in a “poor” working class family, so it took me some time to accept the fact that my skin color has always granted me some level of privelge, but I understand it now. Educate yourself. Ignorance is no excuse.

I cannot know what it’s like to experience the kind of systemic racism that BIPOC face every single day. I can only say that I see you, I hear you, and I support you. I will continue to do better, and I will do everything in my power to help. I’m also mad as hell.

I cannot remain silent while people of color are murdered and beaten by cops, in full view of witnesses, with impunity.

I cannot remain silent while our government officials and the police who are hired to “protect and serve” are teargassing and firing projectiles into crowds of peaceful protesters.

I will not remain silent while a lying, adulterous reality television star/failed businessman continues to embarrass our country every single day.

Thanks for reading. Now keep reading. Get involved. Be on the right side of history.

I’ll leave you with someone else’s words. This song that was written in 1987, but it could just as easily have been written today.

“Police Related Death” by MDC (words by Dave Dictor, music by Ron Posner & Willie Lipat)

Racism is as American as apple pie
And if one black boy dies who’s gonna cry?
Smashed and handcuffed and beaten to death
One colored man to deal with less

A graffiti artist was his crime
Mayor Koch says New York’s finest are fine
Can justice be really this blind?
If you or I were black would his death be yours or mine?

South Bronx elderly woman can’t pay her rent
She’s a mental case so the SWAT team was sent
Wouldn’t open the door so through the window they went
Blew her away in cold blood without a regret

Police related death
Just another police related death

Pregnant woman from east L.A
Asked who knocked, they would not say
Refused to answer, those sheriffs went wild
Shot her in the stomach and she lost her child

Those teenage boys from Texas caught with a little dope
It was Black Freedom Day, a prayer and a hope
Sent handcuffed in a boat to the middle of a lake
The boat sank, the boys drown, precautions they didn’t take

How many men of color were shot last year?
How many dents did it make in any policeman’s career?
The mayor and chief cry crocodile tears
Just look a bit concerned as election time nears

Police related death
Just another police related death

Two sets of laws for the rich and the poor
Look at the prisons and tally the score
Black man’s chance of prison is one in four
Prejudice and racism wrapped in class war

If Malcolm X and Martin were alive today
How many lives of grief and pain they could relay
And how for these injustices can anyone repay?
And what amount of sorrow can anyone convey?

How much suffering must be endured
Before this social cancer can be cured?
Do color and class make one good or bad?
Doesn’t prejudice and hate make humankind sad?

Police related death
Just another police related death

Open this fucking pit up!

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