Yes, we have a duty to resist, but…

I’ve avoided commenting on the iconoclastic vandals/ rioters for at least three reasons.

  1. I’ve been hoping that there’d be some point to to their violence – or that at least there’d be some accord with the peaceful protesters’ righteous demand for reform. Given how bad our tribal information sources are these days, I was hoping that something favorable would emerge about their motives. …Other than burning Bibles and the usual socialist/communist self-delusions, of course.
  2. Quite opposite the manipulative canard we’re told about the efficacy of peaceful protest, there has always been, in any real social movement, a yin-yang duo of intellect and force, peaceful protest and violence.  For example, Mohandas Gandhi versus Rash Behari Bose, or Martin Luther King versus Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.  I am personally very anti-violence in my personality as well as political ideology and ethos.  But…change is necessary.  Our government is horrifically corrupt.
  3. Truth be told, I’m a bit of an iconoclast myself.

But as of now, the violence has only served to unfairly discredit and distract from the peaceful protesters’ goals.  Whether by design or stupidity is pretty much the same yield…the violent destruction has been absurdly, mindlessly destructive as well as counterproductive.

On the other hand I’m deeply conflicted.

I feel like a hypocrite promoting peaceful revolution by nullification, change of heart and mind, personal responsibility, civil disobedience, tribal law/ election reform and innumerable political campaigns, yet silently wishing for the other half I know is necessary for actual societal and cultural change.

I’m not aware of anybody saying it better than former slave Frederick Douglass.  Here’ just a few snippets of a speech we should all read in its entirety:

FDouglassThe general sentiment of mankind is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just.  For a man who does not value freedom for himself will never value it for others, or put himself to any inconvenience to gain it for others.  Such a man, the world says, may lie down until he has sense enough to stand up.  It is useless and cruel to put a man on his legs, if the next moment his head is to be brought against a curbstone.

Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.

The following puts a sharp point on today’s circumstances as contrasted with better-grounded movements:

I am aware that the insurrectionary movements of the slaves were held by many to be prejudicial to their cause.  This is said now of such movements at the South.  The answer is that abolition followed close on the heels of insurrection in the West Indies, and Virginia was never nearer emancipation than when General Turner kindled the fires of insurrection at Southampton.

…And my favorite, most-often cited part:

Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.  Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

The rioters’ absence of such intellect, clarity and purpose reveals them to be self-immolating fools; either as tools at the whim of others, or as brutish embodiment of dysfunctional minds.

But I’d better be clear on something…it’s not only black people who should be concerned about our government.  Our culture is sick from the bottom-up as well as top-down.  Inequality under law hurts everybody, ultimately – even the people who’re now draining the lives of the lower castes for their benefit.

You can say whatever you want about our Founding Fathers and past generations’ American Dream – we never did anybody’s vision correctly.   But where we’re headed is disastrous by anybody’s ideology, or hopes for tomorrow.

My hopes, as always, are for a public epiphany that actually acts-out a better culture.  But as always, my hopes greatly exceed my expectations.
Sigh…

I’ll end with another excerpt of Douglass’s speech:

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning.  They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

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