Whether spoken as a self-evident truth or proclaimed as a rallying cry at a protest, “black lives matter” is itself a victim of the brutality of abusers of language. It is so frequently misunderstood — and sometimes what Robert A. Heinlein called “carefully misunderstood” — that its message gets muddled, lost and odiously recycled for malign purposes.
Hijacked and thrown back in the faces of its originators comes “white lives matter” or “blue lives matter,” in a shrill and obvious attempt to victim-blame the purpose of the intent of the original verbal tripartite. Black lives matter was never created to suggest that white lives don’t. It was created to underline the idea that black lives also matter, because they never have. This simple explanation gets intentionally lost in the feigned outrage of the very people who set out to lose it in the first place.
It’s difficult to tell when detractors of the idea that black lives matter are stupid or merely playing at being stupid, but their unwillingness to hear the message is also identified in other symptoms. Any excuse to draw attention away from the message is employed: what was he or she doing to attract the attention of the police in the first place? Why did he or she resist arrest? Does he or she have a criminal past? Why are the protesters so violent? From their point of view getting down to the business of acknowledging that black lives matter must first wait until certain preliminary other matters are cleared up, and they never are, of course.
The whole point — and the only point — is that the day is long overdue when we extend the idea of the sacredness of life to people of color. We, as a nation, haven’t yet. Don’t let the street protests fool you, the idea that black lives matter has not yet been thoroughly inculcated where it needs to be to make a difference, in the hearts and minds and laws and systems of the people who run things.
Nowhere is that more clear than in the tone deaf pirate ship usurping the executive branch of American government called the “Trump administration.” Donald Trump’s recent attempt to summon the ghost of George Floyd to celebrate his “triumph” at an unemployment rate that dropped from 14.7% to 13.3% is nothing short of obscene.
If it’s true that Mr. Floyd really does no longer “see through a glass darkly” then he sees, even more clearly than we do, a man taking a victory lap around his grave, created by systemic racism that Trump himself supports, because of an unemployment rate artificially falling as the consequence of people sent prematurely back to work who will presently be joining Mr. Floyd. Trump’s crocodile tears are obscured by his greedy, alligator smile.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying it’s a great thing that’s happening for our country,” Trump said. “It’s a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody.” I guess now we know what Trump means by making America “great” again. If that’s greatness I can’t wait for Trump to have his very own share of it. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.