J O U R N A L / B L O G


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Throughout months now of a global pandemic, and a rising tide of response to the terrible manifestations of the cancer that is deep inside America, it is good to try to think about the past, and take a step back. I submit this to my white friends and associates:

I hope we can all think about these things in terms of the long term-- because they can only be improved significantly in the long term. 

We should all be thinking about how we can avoid 'mob justice' in a time where there exists a mob whose hands rest on levers of power throughout our world, having rested there since seizing them through colonialism, bloodshed, slavery, and 'law'. This mob is white supremacy, and it is alive and well. It is the status quo, despite erosion and slow condemnation. 

We should remember that who is elected president of the U.S. matters comparatively little-- and we can be thankful for that, despite it meaning that person will never be able to make a huge difference for the better, either. 

I left Seattle for the summer at an in-opportune time, because for 5 years I worked on Pike and Broadway, right inside what is now called the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or 'CHOP'. I wish I had been there still to be the voice of someone working in the area and who could confirm that I felt just fine going to work. Indeed, that I felt encouraged by what was happening in the city I grew up in. 

As someone who has worked in the Capitol Hill area, witnessed a (non-fatal) shooting there in the chaos of night several years ago, and seen the way it is generally on the weekends, I can say the only times I would have been afraid to go to my place of work in the past few weeks that would be any different now would be when the police were there. I say that as someone lucky enough to not have to fear the police in my everyday life. But through their response to the peaceful, or sometimes property damaging protests following George Floyd's killing, they condemned themselves to deepening a gulf of distrust with the public. Shouldn't it make perfect sense after Rodney King alone, let alone all the others, that this would cause an outrage? Shouldn't it be obvious, as is illustrated by every crime movie ever in which a mob boss must be taken down just right, that convictions and not charges are what matter? 

The right to live should come far above the right to own property and be compensated for its destruction, which was never threatened in the past few weeks. Those who are supposed to be the caretakers of 'law and order' should have known recent history and known that outbreaks of disease amplify the tensions that lead to civil disobedience. Regardless of all this, they took part with more violence than citizens would ever be allowed to get away with. They boxed in then attacked people with crowd control weapons that cause fits of coughing amidst a breath and saliva spread pandemic that has killed more than one hundred thousand Americans so far. 

It is the right time to consider how we maintain law and order in this country. It has always been the right time, and it always will be the right time.

I have no compelling images to share right now, and I wish that I did. I am not an artist whose work is likely on its own to be politically effective or moving. But I do hope to produce something which grants space to voices more effective and relevant than my own. And to support it with the full vision I have of the world...

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