Mazzuca: A summer of love
When referring to the Black Lives Matter movement in a recent Federalist article, David Marcus wrote, “It’s difficult to understand why anyone would have any reason to disagree with something that’s so obviously right and true.” Marcus followed that opinion suggesting the situation is more complicated than it appears because the term Black Lives Matter has two very distinct, if not contradictory meanings in today’s America.
The first meaning is a general statement in support for civil rights; something all Americans should be able to get behind. However, the second meaning refers to a clear leftist agenda — perhaps even a radical one — which was revealed when videos surfaced of the organization’s founder telling reporters she and the other founder were Marxists.
Now I wholeheartedly agree with the tagline, “Black Lives Matter,” but perhaps because I grew up during the Cold War, I simply cannot support an organization founded by Marxists and whose vision for America is the polar opposite from that of Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison.
When I think about the fight for racial equality from a historical perspective, my first thoughts are of Martin Luther King; my second, Mahatma Ghandi. So I am compelled to ask, albeit rhetorically, how these men might view the riots and violence sweeping America today.
To better understand the movement I decided to tour the BLM website, and after doing so I thought it reasonable to ask, what has the movement done or what is it doing to benefit the black community as a whole other than to draw attention to the disproportionate number of negative interactions between the police and the black community?
The BLM website contains notices regarding how to join, making donations, defunding the police, our corrupt justice system, how to purchases logo T-shirts, comments about its founding, demands for racial data vis-à-vis COVID, and under the heading of “Programs” details about The Provocateurs: A Master’s Series about creating a politically radical framework for artists, and a video about the 2020 election featuring Donna Brazile.
But I could not I find a single word about providing equal opportunity education for black school children. Nor was there any mention of coordination with the National Education Association or the American Federation of Teachers to improve the quality of teachers for schools in black communities. I saw nothing about support for young men and boys of color much less any programs to improve the economic viability of black communities. Nor was there any discussion or notices about reducing crime and violence in black neighborhoods.
Shootings remain steady
At the same time it’s fair to ask, why didn’t we see this social unrest last year, or the year before that, or even back in 2015? What’s so special about 2020? According to The Washington Post, “Despite the unpredictable events that lead to fatal shootings, police nationwide have shot and killed almost the same number of people annually — nearly 1,000 — since The Post began its project.”
Shootings by uniformed police officers
Year Total Blacks
2015 994 258
2016 962 234
2017 986 224
2018 991 228
2019 1004 250
These statistics cover both the Obama and Trump administrations, again making it reasonable to ask, why are we experiencing the riots, the destruction, the cancel culture protests and the vicious attacks on police now? What’s so different about 2020? To answer my own question I’m going to go way out on a limb and speculate that it may have something to do with the fact that it’s an election year.
When watching CNN or reading The Washington Post, it becomes obvious many Americans believe we are a racist nation, or at the very least, a nation where systemic racism permeates society. I happen to disagree and refer to the words of Abraham Lincoln who before signing the Emancipation Proclamation said to congress that we were “the last best hope of earth.” And I believe that holds true to this day. I also believe America is a continuing experiment, and while imperfect, it is a truly noble nation that arguably has liberated more people from oppression worldwide and delivered more prosperity to its citizens than any nation in recorded history. So why would we want to tear it down?
Quote of the day: “There is no way of proving your point to someone whose income, position or ideology depends upon believing the contrary” — Sydney Harris.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. Follow him on his blog at butchmazzuca.com.