[Listen to the audio version here: https://soundcloud.com/user-31492767/on-george-floyd-donald-trump-and-social-progress-jttg-june-2020]
A number of people have asked about my thoughts on the George Floyd situation, so I’ll explore that below.
On George Floyd and Officer Chauvin:
Office Chauvin should go down for manslaughter for leaving his knee on Floyd’s neck after he was no longer a threat. He deserves that punishment for his negligence.
George Floyd’s epilogue is less clear-cut.
“George Floyd” as ‘”Victim’”? Certainly.
“George Floyd” as “Martyr”? No.
What he was doing before he was ‘cuffed on the ground set the events in motion. He is not a figure to idolize.
We’ve got to be careful about how freely we throw around the “Hero” label.
Police Brutality and The Biggest Threats to Blacks in America:
Police brutality is a problem.
The biggest threat to blacks in America? Not even close.
There exist larger, more pressing hurdles facing the average black person in America on a daily basis.
Income, health, education, parenting concerns: Just a few of the issues more likely to impact your life than the transgressions of the police.
Heck, statistically, black-on-black civilian crime is much more likely to impair—or end—the life of the average black person than a run-in with the police.
I’m not denying that racism—at the hands of the police or others— exists. Or recommending silence on issues that matter to you most. Just putting the spectre of police fatalities into context.
One concern that’s seldom voiced: The assault on free speech of anyone who has a dissenting opinion—not just on this topic, but others—is dangerous. We’ve got to be careful about allowing emotions and hidden agendas to control narratives.
Be mindful of those in the background pulling the strings who benefit when the country settles for low-hanging fruit.
On Creating Effective Protests:
A couple excerpts from posts past….
Two problems facing the protest community:
1) Inability to Create Change
2) Sullied Reputation: “Protesters are Thugs.”
“They only have one question: What’s in it for them?
Why should they invest the time and effort to help you, beyond offering empty gestures and lip service?
It could be an emotional reason or a financial one. It could be to create tranquility inside their own minds. You have to give people a reason to get off the sidelines.
Until you do that, you’re just pounding sand.”
Full Article: Freddie Gray, Dirty Cops, and The Problem With (Peaceful) Protests
“The problem with this anthem movement, like most demonstrations, is that the players have no specific stated goal. “Awareness” is not precise enough, nor is “starting a conversation”. Only the most dyed-in-the-wool bigots deny racism exists. Awareness is overrated. Problems don’t get solved without actionable solutions and the first step to meeting a goal is defining the target.
Open discourse helps. Shaming people in to silence does not. Activists are too quick to dismiss detractors as racists, instead of encouraging an exchange of ideas. All intellectual-dishonesty does is stunt progress. We will not get anywhere if people are afraid to speak up.”
Full Article: Anthem Demonstrations and Protests in The NFL
Protest gatherings that devolve into looting and vandalism mobs just undermine the cause. That mayhem puts businesses on notice about locating their stores in impoverished neighborhoods—those who need convenient access to services the most—as well.
Looting and polluting is not the way…..
Many of the people protesting aren’t doing much to move the needle. A sizable portion of them arrive with ulterior motives, content just to be seen or galvanized by being part of a crowd.
And then there are those looking for opportunities to act up, emboldened by the belief they’ll get away with it.
Also lost in the shuffle is the impact of these mass gatherings on the COVID infection curve. Politicians, no strangers to double-talk, are condoning protests, arguing that social activism “trumps” any other considerations, be they pathological or ideological. This sort of pandering casts doubt on the actual threat level of the Coronavirus to local municipalities and undermines government credibility going forward.
Apparently, infection brakes for politics.
The Impact on the 2020 Elections:
I’d be remiss not to throw in a few words about the potential impact on the 2020 elections:
A lot of criticism has already been lobbed President Trump’s way: that’s expected given his position in the free world. Like every modern-day POTUS, he will receive inordinate censure for the bad—and more praise for the good—than he actually deserves. President Trump is a particularly-conspicuous target because of the frequency (and carelessness) with which he communicates through social media.
That said, the Floyd saga should have negligible impact on Trump’s chances for a second term. Ditto for local elections.
“But what about all those protesters, civil unrest, and celebrity commentary on the need for change? That imagery has got to play in the coming elections, right?”
Impact Bias: We overestimate the importance and duration of most events on our lives.
Most notable events hit hard for a few weeks and then gradually fade away from national consciousness We remember what happened, but it recesses further and further into our minds as time passes.
That’s never been more true with how quickly news cycles turn nowadays. The world reacts for a short while and then everyone goes back to their normal lives.
Many celebrities and organizations comment on notable events for publicity purposes, seizing the opportunity to pander to fan bases. They offer a sympathetic quote, bask in the goodwill, and consider it “mission accomplished”. Talk is cheap and committed problem-solvers are in rare supply. In an uncertain world, there will always be something to get outraged about in the future.
You know, like the way Americans followed through on eradicating Boko Haram after the 2014 kidnappings in Nigeria, which birthed the #BringBackOurGirls Movement.
That terrorist organization is still alive and wreaking havoc in West Africa, but the world has moved on to to the next cause du jour.
But hey, “awareness” is what counts, right?
And many of the same protesters out in force in cities across the country are those most likely to skip the voting booth on Election Day. Easy answers to difficult questions never go out of style and most activists would rather look the part than actually do the work required to get results.
If you hated Trump before the incident, you still hate him. And if you’re one of his supporters, nothing new hit the scene to alter that.
There was—and still is—a lot of talk about foreign influence on the last presidential election. For centuries, governments have attempted to influence foreign policies for their own agenda. With the advent of social media, that’s never been easier to accomplish.
Don’t be fooled, though: voter apathy, misaligned values, and flawed political outreach were much bigger factors in the previous presidential election outcome than any foreign interference. As convenient as it is to blame Russian boogeymen, the Democratic Party committed serious strategic blunders in their approach to winning the vote.
Trump opponents would be wise to focus on the real reasons the 2016 contests didn’t go their way. Come to terms with the truth and the path to victory becomes much clearer.
Do let me know what you think about the Floyd situation and the ramifications for Americans—of all colors—going forward.