We are back from the Outer Banks. Distancing was generally not difficult, because so many places are closed, but we sure didn’t see a lot of people wearing masks and exercising sensible care. Not surprisingly, the number of Covid-19 infections in North Carolina is headed up.
Am I the only person who has had more than enough of George Floyd hagiography? I mean … seriously: This is a guy with a criminal record, traces of fentanyl and meth in his blood, and under suspicion of trying to pass counterfeit bills. You wouldn’t want him living next door.
He certainly didn’t deserve the ugly death he suffered at the hands of the police, and I am glad that — belatedly, but that’s a different issue — the police involved are under arrest and facing criminal prosecution; the world will be a better and cleaner place when they are themselves in prison.
My objection is that celebrating Floyd as a martyr corrupts the needed conversation about policing the sick, post-Jim Crow culture in which Floyd, and so many other minorities, are reared and trapped.
The Southern Baptist Convention just concluded its 13th straight year of membership decline. They are the low, debased bottom of an innately degrading religion, the core of Donald Trump’s evangelical base, and I rejoice at the prospect of seeing For Sale signs in front of their pesthole churches. Good.
Defund the Police is nearly as obscure a slogan as Black Lives Matter, but seems to have something to do with how funding is allocated; the gist of it seems to be, more money for social services and less for hardware (though it appears that some people actually do mean get rid of the police altogether). All I have to say about it is that the proper place for that discussion is in tens of thousands of town council meetings all across the country, not before television cameras, cutesy sign in hand, on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Whatever that slogan is supposed to mean, it certainly means hard bargaining and decision-making with neighbors and local Council Members, not a lot of grandstanding a la Al Sharpton. A lot of the noisemaking has the feel of petulant childishness.
Much of the conversation about changing military basenames is woefully uninformed and needlessly inflammatory. Say what you like about Robert E. Lee, for instance, he was not really a ‘traitor.’ Many American citizens of that time understood their home state to be a member of a confederacy of sovereign, independent states, rather as a German is a German first and a member of the European Union second. They believed, further, that their independent, sovereign home state was free to withdraw from that confederacy, rather as Great Britain recently voted to leave the European Union.
Lincoln changed that — probably unconstitutionally. Rather as Thomas Jefferson made his deal with Napoleon for the Louisiana Purchase without consulting Congress, he probably made the wise decision — but, like Jefferson, it’s not at all clear that he made a Constitutionally sound decision. The Civil War entailed a lot of divided loyalties and ambiguous civic obligations, and tossing around words like ‘traitor’ needlessly inflames a needful conversation.
This is a dangerous time in the country’s history, and no time for showboating. Let’s all hope that the allure of cameras doesn’t interfere with the careful thinking we so need just now.