Minority Report

The Republican convention easily ignored the near murder of Jacob Blake of Kenosha, Wisconsin by a Kenosha policeman. Blake was shot in the back seven times while getting into his car where his children were seated. Equally absent was any mention of the murder of 2 protestors and the non-fatal shooting of another by a “police fan” from Illinois. Republicans did, however, manage to talk about “law and order.” Following on the heels of the myriad killings of unarmed African-Americans by what have to be considered untrained, or inexperienced, or overreactive, or simply racist police officers, this seems to be a glaringly purposeful statement about how the Republican Party feels about people of color. Given the ranting about immigration and the policies of this Administration and the lack of action from the Republican-controlled Senate, it is obvious that the party does not care much about Mexicans, or Central Americans or Syrians or Africans fleeing political unrest, economic dislocation, or oppression. Given the enthusiasm shown for limiting H1B visas, they do not care about South Asians much either despite Nikki Haley’s support for the Party. The consistent racism of calling Covid-19 the “Chinese Flu” is self-explanatory.

The apparent reality is that the Trumpist Republican Party just does not like minorities….believing that, or more likely just behaving as if white, Christian folks have a God-given right to rule this nation.

To most of my white, Christian friends and readers, this is abhorrent.  My friends are supportive of oppressed minorities, but they do not know what it is like to be constantly under attack.  In the above cases, the attacks come from the right wing.

I am an American of the Jewish faith and have no right to claim understanding of the virulent, pervasive, and persistent racism suffered by African-Americans and other American people of color.  I can hide behind my whiteness – this despite the fact that the ultra-right does not consider Jews to be “white.”

But I do know what it is like to be under attack. From both the far left and the far right. The list that follows is some of the last seven days of headlines from my RSS feed which includes The Economist, The Forward, The Smirking Chimp, The Bulwark, and The Columbus Dispatch.

  • Kenosha synagogue vandalized with ‘Free Palestine’ graffiti during protests
  • NY man threatens to shoot up Jewish camp over coronavirus restrictions
  • Neighbor of Paris synagogue smashes mezuzah to ‘restore religious neutrality
  • FBI apologizes for Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion tweet
  • Brandeis targeted by bomb threat
  • ‘Free Palestine’ graffiti sprayed on Austrian synagogue
  • Doctor who said she would give Jews wrong medications loses medical license
  • Man behind the ‘Goyim Defense League’ responsible for anti-Semitic LA highway banner
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle invokes ‘cosmopolitan elites’ in RNC speech
  • U.K. renters’ union rejects Jewish applicant saying ‘sorry, no time for Zionists’
  • British rapper Wiley repeats tropes about Jewish power and money in new interview
  • Mary Mendoza pulled from Republican National Convention after retweeting antisemitic theory
  • Jewish man, 39, killed in Palestinian stabbing attack in Tel Aviv suburb
  • Republican candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene shared antisemitic video
  • Fire at Delaware Chabad was arson, investigators say

Note, this does not include headlines from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, or USA Today or any other big city paper or news source.  This list includes just 7 days of headlines. And granted, these are not all about the United States.  The list is only intended as context for the next point.

Now, take the headlines from all of those publishers plus all the other big city newspapers in just the US and add up all those that report incidences of  slurs, harassment, prejudice, and violence perpetrated against people of color. The volume of such an onslaught and resulting anger, frustration, and fear is unimaginable to many Americans, and especially to those condemning the protesters of such an onslaught. It is, however, completely imaginable to the victims.

You think I am indulging in paranoid thinking?  Let me paraphrase Joseph Heller in Catch-22:

  “It ain’t paranoia when they really are out to get you.”

A Republican convention that fails to acknowledge the injustice while condemning the protest is a Republican party without a moral compass, without a soul, without a heart.  To my mind, anyone who would vote for such a venal, cruel, and uncaring group of hypocrites must either share those values or be uniquely blind to them.  I cannot imagine an alternative logic as it is self-evident to me.

Want a more conservative government?  Force the current Republican party to return to intellectually honest, values-based policies before voting for them.  Make “compassionate conservatism” a reality and abandon the race-baiting, misogynist, hate-mongering, winner-take-all, ends justify the means, and simply cruel approach the Trump/McConnell party has decided to adopt.

There it is. 

And as an addendum:  if anyone reads this and assumes that my position on the Republicans’ abhorrent reaction to protests of racial injustice and police brutality is because I am part of the “progressive left,” let me vigorously refute such an assumption:

I do not want to “defund” the police.  I want the police to demilitarize, receive the proper training, rid themselves of racially biased cops like white supremacists and neo-nazis and proud boys, stop aiding and abetting the same, and adopt community policing as the norm. I want the police there to help me when criminals threaten me.  I want minorities to embrace rather than be repelled by the police.

I do not want ‘Medicare for all’ if it bankrupts the country.  I do support a single payer system as long as premiums are income-adjusted, ensuring those who can afford it pay more than those who cannot.  I also believe that there should be elective private insurance as an upgrade option, just like there is today for Medicare Parts A & B, and D.

I do not want to take away your guns.  I do not want my guns taken away either. (Yes, I own guns.)  I want to provide reasonable protections so that mentally-ill people cannot buy guns, and no one can deploy military grade weapons.  I want licensing and mandatory safety training.  Shoot all the deer, elk, turkeys, ducks, geese, and quail you want during the season.  Protect your family and your property.  But we should no longer tolerate murder and mass shootings under the guise of the 2nd Amendment.

I do not believe in “law and order” when it is code for biased sentencing or stop-and -frisk that is little more than harassment of minorities, or the criminalization of poverty, or tolerance for bigotry.  I most certainly do believe in “law and order” when that means that murderers, rapists, batterers, thieves, white collar criminals, and child and spousal abusers are held fully accountable for their actions. 

I do not support the destruction of property  and violence at night that seems to accompany the daytime peaceful protests.  I am, however, skeptical that the all of the actors are the same folks and more than just somewhat suspicious that some of the violence and destruction is being perpetrated to discredit the protests.

And there that is as well.

One thought on “Minority Report

  1. Dan – your comments are spot on and shared by many. Thanks for articulating this sentiment so well.

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