The Drum Beats

I have long thought that this country was heading toward violence. The change in partisanship. The viciousness and intolerance of the religious right. Economic polarization. Traumatic feelings of fear about climate change. Destruction of the unions and condemnation of the very idea of social action among labor. The use of "liberal" as a deep and effective slur. The list of intractable influences causing desperation among the working and under class people in our country is long.

When Trayvon Martin was killed and the right celebrated. I felt that the fuse was being lit. When Black Lives Matter was ridiculed and then subverted, I thought that arrogance on the right had become truly dangerous and inflammable. In another thread here on Facebook, I read a guy saying that this is the first time in his life that someone has declared "open season" on police. I have no doubt that he sneered when someone said it was open season on black boys.

After the abusive police response in Fergusson when Michael Brown was murdered, I began to feel even more uneasy. Each step along the way. The tick tock of black boys being killed, now that we bother to notice.

But none of that set me as far on edge as the completely unrepentant attitude of the police, the gun nuts, and the right wing politicians. Instead of seeking to assuage the fear that all of us who are not rich now feel when we see a cop in the mirror, they proudly claim that the kid didn't raise his hands far enough, that the woman wasn't sufficiently respectful. They aren't distressed about police brutality, they celebrate it.

That leaves the oppressed with nowhere to turn. We know that Congress will do nothing. We know that the local authorities are in favor of this police behavior. When the demonstrators in the aftermath of the abuse of Sarah Bland were openly carrying assault rifles and the police were, for a change, not abusive and authoritarian, I thought, "it's begun."

Anyone who failed to notice that the police respect violence more than peace is a fool. Now, you watch, the slippery slope has been engaged. Police are dying. The authorities are going to show their stripes by loudly condemning those deaths where they are silent about black boys.

I don't (necessarily) recommend it, but I hear the drumbeat. The cries of sorrow about Trayvon and Michael and Sarah and the rest are starting to sound like cries of another sort and I think we all have reason to be afraid.