In Martinez, California, a couple — a white couple, cue ominous musical stinger — have done the unthinkable. They have applied paint to a PUBLIC ROAD in order to… drum roll, please… impose their political opinions unilaterally on the community. I know, I know: you’re shocked. You’ll be pleased to know these vandals, these hatemongers, face prosecution for their actions. I think we can all agree that what they did was completely unacceptable, and that no civil society can be maintained in an atmosphere like this.
Except, of course, that they did precisely what their government did, and with as little regard to public opinion.
The “community,” you see, “worked hard” to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on a public street. The public wasn’t actually consulted in this regard. The “community” was not polled, did not vote, and did not agree to this use of their tax dollars. Those in power, who happen to be of a specific political bent, decided to impose their political views unilaterally on the entire community, using a public thoroughfare to do it.
Public thoroughfares are not generally venues for political expression, but this is the latest battleground annexed by the Left. Now, you cannot travel on a public street without being confronted by political slogans — and if you are, you should count yourself lucky, because at least your vehicle was not surrounded and attacked by “peaceful protesters” eager to shoot you or beat you to death. Those are the new rules of engagement. They are not up for debate.
I’m not sure you realize, you see, but we’ve established collectively the notion that any time a group of agitators takes over a public street and blocks traffic, YOU are the guilty party if you strike them in trying to escape. But of course, you knew that — because only “white supremacists” and “right-wingers” would do such a thing (except that in the most recent incident of such a crime, the driver was a person of color simply impatient with blocked traffic).
This is the curious intersection of Black Lives Matter, the slogan, with Black Lives Matter, the organization, and Black Lives Matter, its supporters. The slogan is, as a collection of words, inoffensive. Of course black lives matter, because human life matters. As applied in public discourse, the slogan is obnoxious. It is the attempt to imply that the persons at whom you are hurling your slogan do not believe black lives matter. It is the accusation that others operate under the misconception that such lives are unimportant or, worse, that those accused are actively hostile to them. As such, shouting “Black Lives Matter!” is the presumption that most people are callous, even murderous racists… which isn’t true.
Black Lives Matter, the organization, is an avowed Marxist political group. It’s a left-wing de facto political party, really, whose name brilliantly obfuscates its true purpose. People oppose the organization precisely because they don’t agree with its political aspirations, which include such communist nonsense as eliminating the traditional family and punishing white people financially for the sins of their ancestors.
Then there are Black Lives Matter’s supporters. Most of them are well-meaning, if full of false racial resentment. They’ve been told their entire lives how monstrous their country is and how malevolent their fellow Americans are. Small wonder, then, that they believe it. They march in service to a series of lies that state, wrongly, that persons of color are “hunted” and singled out for “systemic” maltreatment by other Americans. None of this is true; no law, guideline, or rule is enforced today that disadvantages black Americans in favor of white Americans. The lie persists, and so the marches persist, and thus do the accusations continue.
The funny thing about being accused, wrongly, is that eventually one rebels against it. The couple in California were rebelling against the incessant assertion that they are presumptive racists for being born white. They are tired of being told that they have “privilege” (a rhetorical trap, a weapon of sophistry that silences and marginalizes people on the basis of skin color). They are tired of being told they don’t think certain people’s lives matter. They’re tired of getting emails from literally every company they’ve ever given an address to, all of which further this myth of systemic American oppression of citizens of color.
Most of all, they’re tired of their government foisting this opinion on them without their consent and without their participation. So it is that they took precisely the same action their government took in the name of the community. They painted out a slogan, an accusation, that they considered an affront. Their government chose to make a political statement favoring only one side of a contentious issue, without regard to the rest of the community or those citizens’ opinions. This couple did exactly the same thing.
It’s said that we get the government we deserve, and to a certain extent this is true. Our Constitution and our way of life, however, has always acknowledged that those not in the majority still have rights. This was the mechanism whereby those wrongly enslaved were freed, after all. This is the philosophy that has guided a free people who, while they now have lost their way, might still right their course.
Just as it was wrong when, say, New York’s Governor Cuomo declared there is no place in New York for conservatives who do not agree with Cuomo’s opinions, it is equally wrong for a government to take political positions hostile to a segment of those it serves. Civil society must acknowledge that issues have more than one side, and that opposing viewpoints are — if not equally valid — equally legitimate.
Siding with some citizens over other citizens is a corrosive, destructive practice. No free society should tolerate it. Unless and until we understand this, we are doomed to remain at each other’s throats.