The last few weeks have been a strain on the American psyche. Based on the events of the past month, there should be questions and concerns.
Grabbing headlines these days is the subject of police brutality, as it should be. Are police tactics and procedures applied uniformly, if not universally, at a minimum consistently in the same jurisdiction? There is no absolute way of knowing. Not every police officer-involved incident is caught on camera.
However, the perception is police tactics are not applied uniformly, especially on different races and classes. Protests and civil unrest have come out of that, which we see every night on the news.
Our media applaud the movement. Corporate America has traded in the sloganized “we’re all in this together” as a gesture about coronavirus for “Black Lives Matter.” Same with our political elites, and same with the entertainment industry.
When the trinity of Wall Street, Hollywood and Washington, D.C., are aligned, that isn’t easy to match. Now policymakers are determined with a crisis-like focus to right this wrong.
Meanwhile, for everyone not involved in the three before-mentioned sectors and not in line with the protests on the streets, it has not gone unnoticed that life as we had known it was forced to change because of COVID-19.
Out: Reporters ambushing drunk tourists in Gulf Shores, asking them how they could be so irresponsible that they would risk lives at the beach.
In: Live footage of the masses in the streets of major American cities chanting, “Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.”
That is not to say vacationing at the beach and taking to the streets are exactly the same. However, it is proof that there is an arbitrary application of the law. Filling the church pews on Sunday for service is a no-no, but civil unrest to the point of blocking roadways and vandalism, and in some cases rioting and looting, are just frowned upon.
Where is Governor Kay Ivey’s guidance for protesting in the streets? Is there not some government official who can walk us through a meticulously organized checklist of what is and is not acceptable if one seeks to petition the government for a redress of grievances?
Regardless of whether you want to gather to protest, eat out at restaurants, open your furniture store or head down to a bar and watch a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band play, their rulebook seems to be subjective based on politics.
Aside from discrediting any future guidance (if there is another outbreak), how is telling people they cannot resume normal activities viewed by those who want a sense of normalcy in their lives? At the same time, crowds are protesting in the streets?
There will be a political backlash.
During an election year, you will have dissatisfaction all over the political map. Republicans are upset about double standards for freedom of association. Democrats are angry about over-policing.
Is it as simple as everyone going to their battle stations and waiting for November to check a “D” or an “R” on the ballot?
What if it is not? You could have a real problem in America. What if pent-up anger turned into something beyond an exploitable emotional hot button to push to rev up a voting bloc?
It is cliché to ask if we can ever really be united again. We do not need to be completely united. There have always been political disagreements since the beginning of the country, and there is a level of discord that is healthy for democracy.
The difference, however, is it is not the opposite sides at one another’s throats — the parties are all upset with the current government.
The left thinks the system has completely failed them, which is the government, by way of law enforcement, threatens their being. They have vocal elements, including their side’s elected representation and the media. Yet, nothing ever changes.
The right thinks there are two rulebooks, and that is entirely unfair. Their side’s elected representatives in government seem fearful of and indifferent to the circumstances.
Oh, yeah, and in the backdrop, there is this brewing culture war. As statues come down and gross overreactions like the delisting of “Gone with the Wind” from a streaming service are underway, those who might oppose this are told to hold their fire, and that now is not the time to raise objections.
That is setting up for another powder keg waiting to explode.
At best, you wind up with the public responding by electing a Donald Trump-like outsider to high office. At worst, you get Americans going at one another.
What is it all for? When the dust settles and the spoils of war go to the victor, what exactly will those spoils be? And will it even be worth it?
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