I believe that George Floyd was murdered, which means that I was onboard with the protestors. Then came huge demonstrations in which policemen were assaulted, Molotov cocktails were thrown, businesses were looted or burned, and social distancing was ignored; and I began to wonder if the demonstrators reserve arson, looting, vandalism, and violence, for themselves alone, or if they would allow the same rights to everyone who feels strongly about an issue.
Next came calls for defunding or abolishing the police followed by outrage over the Atlanta killing of a black man who forcibly stole a cop's stun gun and fired it at him. After that came the toppling of statues of Spanish explorers, Confederate soldiers, Union generals, George Washington, U.S. Grant, Thomas Jefferson, the creator of America's national anthem, and unknown others. Among Eugene's statuary casualties was a University of Oregon work called Pioneer Mother and another entitled simply The Pioneer (some emotionally fragile students explained that the statues so offended them that they had been forced to walk out of their way to classes to avoid seeing them). There are three oddities about the attack on these statues: (1) Although the vandals clearly feel superior to the people who came here over the Oregon Trail, they showed no remorse for the fact that they too live on land stolen from the Indians. (2) The U of O was already considering the statues removal. (3) Pioneer Mother was meant to correct the gender inequity of previous statues, suggesting that the effort of yesterday's liberal intellectuals to create a better world are only worthy of destruction in the eyes of today's liberal demonstrators.
|The University of Oregon's Pioneer Mother statue|
When I reflect upon the demonstrators' words and actions, the following seems evident: their contempt for the law; their embrace of mob rule; their belief in easy fixes; their refusal to compromise or dialogue; their unwillingness to consider that they might be in the wrong; their labeling as racist those who disagree with them; their confidence that had they lived 50-250 years ago, they would have held the same values they hold today; their failure to consider that their descendants might judge them as harshly as they judge their ancestors; their refusal to accept responsibility for taking the law into their own hands; their belief that there is only one way to be moral, and that they alone have virtue to follow it; and their blind faith in the belief that the police are criminals, the criminals are victims, and the gateway to a better world lies in firing the police and emptying the prisons.
In my view, these people are petty, childish, shallow, vicious, vindictive, hypocritical, cowardly, intolerant, unintelligent, unimaginative, and puritanical. Rather than interpreting the overwhelming bi-racial outrage following George Floyd's death as a hopeful sign that the nation is ready for change, they instead assume that the masses are irredeemable bigots who must be forced into change through violence and intimidation on the part of such enlightened beings as themselves. As occurred during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, these youth seem bent upon sweeping the countryside like locusts for the purpose of devouring the old in the certainty that whatever values that they, in their twenty-year-old wisdom, can't understand and appreciate aren't worth understanding and appreciating. If their energy holds, I can but assume that when the demonstrators run out of public statuary to destroy, they will turn their purification efforts to street signs, libraries, art museums, churches, and graveyards, and whatever else offends their readily offended imaginations.
God help those of us who live in liberal areas that are ruled over by gutless local governments that refuse to act in the face of mob rule, and god help the entire nation for having a swaggering president whose remedy for every bad situation only ends in making it worse.