Thursday, June 11, 2020


I had this funny feeling for a couple of days, and it took me that long to figure out what it was.  It had been quite a while since I'd experienced twinges of optimism.

That horrifying snuff film starring Derek Chauvin and George Floyd had set off what was beginning to look like a genuine mass movement.  Our President's psychopathy was becoming so evident that even a few Republicans were looking uncomfortable, and voices from the military offered some reassurance that our armed forces might not support a Tr*mpian coup d'etat.  I suppose that's cause for "hope," but the "change" part will be harder to come by.

Structural racism is just one component of a larger structure: a social system that allows a small number of individuals to amass great wealth and power at the expense of everybody else.  For a sizable chunk of the white working class, white privilege is the only privilege available, and they are loathe to give it up.  Also, consigning people of color to an underclass makes it so much easier for the agents of our overlords – the police – to recognize just whom they're supposed to repress.  Restrictions that keep minorities geographically separate make the task of repression even simpler, and the show of force is far more important than the "control of crime."

Cop culture is macho, authoritarian, and insular.  I suspect it is held together primarily by shared privilege: everything from never getting traffic tickets to  "qualified immunity" for murder.    Maintaining that privilege demands intense loyalty to each other: hence, the "blue wall of silence."  Compounding that opacity, municipalities save money by conceding "free" items in negotiations with police unions, like periodic deletion of public complaint records, or contract language that keeps them secret.

I'm not encouraged by any of the "reform" or "defund" ideas making the rounds now.  None of them addresses the real problem: somebody has to be repressing the underclass to keep the elite in its very comfortable place.  Somebody has to ensure that the working class remains divided and at odds with itself.

Just the same, I keep getting this funny feeling . . .

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