I think many things are happening at the same time to bring us to this level of unrest.
- There is an extensive history of mistreatment of Black people in our country, which is captured well in this Twitter thread.
- In my mind there is no question that Black people continue to be treated badly by some significant subset of police officers and police departments. This doesn’t mean all cops are bad, but it doesn’t need to mean that for there to be a major problem.
- Our police in America are far too militarized. Too many of them have transitioned from thinking of themselves as community servants, to thinking of themselves as Navy SEALs or Special Operations troops. This type of dress, gear, and training attract the wrong type of people to join. More
- Of course there are people looting just for fun, and to take advantage of the situation. Obviously. And it’s quite logical to assume that there are also some number of professional instigators, either grown internally or acting from the outside, that are sparking or exacerbating various situations. This does not, however, nullify in any way the legitimate grievances that are the root cause of this situation.
- Accepting that there are some bad people amongst the protesters and rioters does not delegitimize the movement any more than accepting that “most cops are good” delegitimizes the fact that too many cops are bad. Reality is messy, and many things are true at the same time in this situation.
- The COVID-19 situation is also an aggravating factor, as the Black community has also been hit harder both by the disease itself and by the fallout from the lockdown.
- And finally, our president has failed to lead on this. Worse than failing to lead, he’s actually made the situation worse by not accepting the points above. Rather than seeing things as nuanced, he grabs a single narrative and turns it into a caricature. In this case the narrative he’s chosenÂ is that cops are right and protesters are wrong. This is not what the country needs right now, and it’s not leadership.
To get through this we need the maturity to be able to maintain opposing ideas in our minds simultaneously. Yes, right-leaning friends: looting is bad. And yes, some criminal-types are taking advantage of the situation. And yes, the rule of law is crucial. Fine. Granted. Ok. No arguments here.
But please accept that the root cause of this—the core issue—is not false. It’s not constructed. It is not contrived. It’s real, and there’s a history there that is raw, visceral, and largely invisible to people outside the affected communities. There is an honest, deep pain and fear in the Black community as it relates to interactions with the police. Sure, not all police are bad, but there are still far too many who are.
If you’re on the right and have conservative values, please reach internally to your compassion for your fellow humans in this country. Your fellow American is suffering, and they have legitimate grievances. We accept that there is noise in this message caused by troublemakers, but that’s always the case. Don’t let that distract you from the righteous calling to help your American brothers and sisters.
These communities need our support right now. They need your support, my friends and readers on the right. And the worst possible thing you can do is dismiss their claims on the grounds that a few among them are acting in bad faith. You have the wisdom to see through that, and to see the true suffering beneath. And I ask you to please do so. We need you. These communities need you. The country needs you.