Less than two weeks ago, my partner and I discussed our return to Los Angeles because It looked like my day job would need me again. Besides that, stores would slowly open, as we continued our collective work to bring down Covid19.
Then, some cop had to kill another handcuffed black man. Now, BLM has entered the thunderdome.
Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles County
Another murder, in the middle of a pandemic, is enough to set me tears of anger. Furthermore, I have literally lost count since about 2014. How many times has a black teenager, a black man, a black birthday party get into lethal encounter with either vigilantes or cops? Oh, and let’s be honest: considering how many cops love “the Punisher” logo, the line between “Cop” and “Vigilante” blurs.
But wait, it gets worse!
I cannot go through a day without my phone buzzing like a battleship’s klaxon. Curfews are routine, and though I’m out of town, I’m constantly online with friends ensuring they’re safe. Because I care about them, I also endure images of looting, burning, and police antagonism. That has me in a perpetual state of nervous shock. Finally, too many emotions are happening at the same time, because of what is happening to the city I made my home.
I want Los Angeles to be peaceful. I want black lives to matter. Most of all, I want the social contract with our law enforcement to be renegotiated.
But wait, it gets worse!
Coronavirus and BLM Protests
According to the CDC, Los Angeles has had over 57k cases of Coronavirus. For perspective, we account for about half the cases in the state. However, we were doing well. People had stayed home. Garcetti was allowing businesses to open. Trails and parks were welcoming visitors.
It does not take dual degrees in epidemiology and sociology to see that the protests and the virus are interconnected. When people have jobs to go to and money to earn, they’re not likely to loot. On the other hand, people pent up in their homes, furloughed from employment, and see that the national government does not care, are easy to enrage.
One unnecessary death caused an simmering hive to swarm.
The protests have succeeded in uniting an angry left because we can’t take this shit anymore. Hell, we even saw some confederate monuments destroyed. Yet it is undeniable that this will lead to a surge in Coronavirus infections, just as we were fighting the pandemic to a stalement.
Predictable, Predicted, and Preventable
Progressives, leftists, socialists, and even conservative democrats agree on this: this utter breakdown of social order was preventable. Obama left a plan and a play book for dealing with the pandemic. Additionally, progressives have long argued for greater access to healthcare (including mental health). Most importantly left leaning advocates have studied police brutality and have recommended reform. We’ve been doing this for years. BLM is not new.
It’s the political right that gets in the way. We were impeded by a political party that casually flirts with fascism. Even worse, we’re forced to enter polite dialogue with anti-science, anti-reason, fundamentalists and outright nihilists. At every step, we second guess our relationships across the political divide. “Is my fox news uncle a nazi now? Or is that hyperbole on my part?”
Vote Blue No Matter Who
People who care about democracy, equality, and progress must start winning. Therefore, I supported Warren in the primaries with pride and now I’ll donate to the Joe Biden campaign. Oh wait? Is Joe Biden gross with women? Is he insufficiently progressive? Did he do bad things in the 90s? Yes, yes, and yes. Also, Joe Biden has made a good faith effort to listen to progressives. He has not “pulled right” as many progressives have feared. He has the support of the old GOP in exile, which means he can get swing voters in critical states. Beyond all that, he has empathy for virus victims. Oh yeah, that should be a given. But look were we’re at. Look at what kind of people run the GOP now.
Yes, I will hold my nose and vote for him because after that I will demand that every progressive drag him further left.
Yet if supporting the Biden Campaign is something you can’t do, then how about this instead? Fuck Mitch McConnell. Fuck Lindsey Graham. Defend Doug Jones. If you agree with any of those statements, support the Get Mitch or Die Trying fund. Imagine: the last four years would have been different, if Democrats controlled the senate.
Whatever you do, do something. Most of us don’t have the constitution to face down riot police. Many of us are rightly afraid to spread a virus to our loved ones. Nonetheless, we can still do things to protect them, and protect a democratic future. Out of all the coronavirus posts here, this one has been the most important. Donate. Vote. Support.
Because the stakes we face are, quite literally, life or death for many.