Every year my father made a donation to the Fraternal Order of Police and he proudly put that new sticker on his truck when it arrived. The expressed mission of Blue Lives Matter is valuable and essential. Police, military, secret service, and every other law enforcement organization should be fully integrated into the community they serve, along with all other emergency responders, and that means prioritizing medical and financial support.
Unfortunately, the very name Blue Lives Matter is designed to be racially antagonistic. It allows the organizers to harvest the Us vs Them environment simmering in our country. The subtext is: “you stand with Blue or you stand with Black, but not with both.” This allows the Blue Lives Matter supporters to behave like Queen Elizabeth: voicing any disagreement is tantamount to treason.
“With us or against us,” according to our Founding Fathers, is un-American and cowardly and exactly where we find ourselves.
Just like the Confederate flag, Blue Lives Matter does not have a single meaning. For many of us, including my family and friends who are members of law enforcement and first responders, Blue Lives Matter resonates with a strong message of support, just like the Confederate flag conveys a positive message of culture and belonging in certain demographic categories.
Outside of those target demographics, people still have the same big picture goals to integrate and care for all first responders, but different groups respond differently to symbols and subtext. There are good hearted southerners who still have no idea why people are making a big deal about the Confederate flag. There are good hearted law enforcement officers who see criticism against Blue Lives Matter as an attack against law enforcement. And there are good hearted members of Black Lives Matter who think that any criticism of specific members is the same as an attack on all black people.
Maybe now I understand why people lost their shit over Beyonce’s new album. Either she completely supports my worldview, or she doesn’t. Under no scenario do we both matter.
By the way, as a suburban white guy, it’s weird to be writing about Black Lives Matter, right? Like, it isn’t my place. Like, I can be on your side and all, but maybe I should leave the talking about it up to, I don’t know, black people? Do I need to mention that I have black friends and listen to hip hop to be allowed to weigh in? And if I do publicly state that America does not exist in a state of post-racial harmony and equality, does that mean I hate cops? That I want to bring the whole thing down in a fantastic conflagration from which we never recover?
No. Don’t be a dick.
I’d like to point you towards an organization called C.O.P.S. It’s true, their name is kind of corny, but they do good work. Quiet work. Hard work. The work that needs doing. And, near as I can tell, they don’t have a race-based agenda.
Jonah Knight is a co-host of the More Perfect Union podcast. He is an independent currently living in Maryland.
Bernie Sanders may be about to run as a third party candidate in the general election, whether he knows it or not. And whether he wants to or not. Sounds ludicrous? Hear me out…
Like anyone who plays with fire, Sanders is about to get burned by his own revolution. Sanders has lost control of his unruly movement, and the Bernie or Bust crowd will not go gladly into that good night – even after Clinton’s inevitable nomination, when Bernie will no doubt urge his millennial minions to get on board with her.
“Okay,” you say, “but no one can force Sanders to run in the fall. Right?” Wrong.
Yes, they can get him to run. Or at least, they can run his name. Read More