To: readers across the Aisle

Subject: The pursuit of answers✊🏿

Date: June 3rd, 2020

via Unsplash

Last week, protests erupted in Minneapolis after this video went viral depicting police officer, Derek Chavin, pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. George Floyd can be heard saying he can’t breathe multiple times, but several police officers standing by do not intervene. The next day, George Floyd died in police custody. 

 

To be clear, both sides of the aisle agree that this was clear evidence of murder and disgusting police misconduct. However, politicians on both sides disagree on the protests and the state of police brutality and race in America. 

 

Let’s take a walk down the Aisle…

 

Conservatives have all explained their disdain for Chauvin and called for his immediate arrest. Again, we are all on the same page about Chauvin’s guilt. No one in America is defending Chauvin.

 

However, conservatives do not agree with the violence that Minneapolis (and many other cities including New York, Atlanta, D.C., L.A., etc.) protests are inciting by vandalizing, setting fires, and looting local businesses. Well, they’re probably not as upset about the violence on CNN headquarters.

 

They claim that protestors are exploiting George Floyd’s memory as an excuse to rob local businesses for their own benefit. Many of these small businesses are black owned businesses that were already suffering due to COVID-19.

 

Some of the violence thus far includes:

  • Deaths of black protestors and police officers, including 77 year old retired police captain David Dorn whose death was livestreamed on Facebook (will anyone take a knee for him?)

  • Police department on fire

  • Looting of small businesses leaving citizens to clean up 

 

Even journalists have had their first amendment rights violated:

  •  A black CNN reporter was arrested while a white reporter was allowed to continue covering the protests

  • Fox News journalist was run out by protestors in the DC area while trying to cover the news

Dun Dun

According to President Trump, 80% of the rioters in Minneapolis on Friday were from out of state, and could have been potentially paid by far-left groups to create anarchy across the country. 

 

To prevent further violence, since according to Trump when the looting starts, the shooting starts, he has begun acting as the “law and order” president by:

  • sending out the National Guard in DC and pushing some governors to enact curfews

  • clearing out peaceful protestors to address the public in front of St. Episocal church, which was recently burned down 

  • historically turning off the lights at the White House and hiding in a bunker turned out to be fake news

 

In some areas, police have responded by:

  • sending tear gas and shooting rubber bullets into peaceful protests

  • clearing crowds by force

  • enforcing curfews and arresting protestors (some have even arrested black Americans trying to prevent looters, further emphasizing the racial profiling that people are protesting against)

 

Some on the right believe that President Trump has fueled the fire with his law and order response. General Mattis spoke out saying that Trump was dividing the country even more and not even pretending to try and help Americans heal. 

 

Skeptics on the left believe that the anarchy will play to Trump’s benefit. Richard Nixon got elected in 1968 after claiming to be the “law and order” candidate to bring safety to the country after days of violent riots. President Trump is hoping the same approach will help him in November. 

It’s also important to mention that these riots are occurring primarily in democrat run states, such as New York and Minnesota, who prior to this were taking strict measures to ensure social distancing. 

 

It’s hypocritical for local governments to not only let these protests result in lawless mass destruction but also not enforce any of the social distancing measures that they were so passionate about before. Did coronavirus just disappear during all this? 

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Meanwhile, other police have rejected the law and order response and instead joined protestors by:

  • Kneeling with crowds and joining in on moments of silence

  • Marching with protestors and holding signs 

  • Joining hands with protestors, singing, and hugging the people of their communities

 

Just a couple of months ago we were all praising NYPD officers who were risking their lives as essential workers; many of whom died performing their duty. Lil Wayne recently pointed out that we have to stop grouping all police officers into one “broad view” and assuming that all white officers are inherently racist. As cited above, several police officers are joining the rallies and standing with the community to demand change, but the left claims this is all for show.

 

The right sees police brutality as a minor issue where the few ruin the reputation of the many that perform their law enforcement jobs well and without racial bias. In fact, they see it as a bigger issue that the majority of black deaths in this country occur from black on black homicides in cities like Chicago and Detroit. Nobody seems to be protesting those deaths. 

 

Black conservatives like Candace Owens feel that the left is conveniently taking advantage of the situation to bait black Americans to voting for the democratic party. She claims that the left chooses to ignore bigger issues like father absence and the education system for more sensational issues like police brutality before each election. 

 

Shelby Steele of Stanford's Hoover Institute claims that the left has kept black Americans in an endless cycle of oppression through government assistance. Instead of empowering black communities with better education, healthcare, and economic mobility, white politicians tell blacks that they "need" whites in order to improve their communities.

 

In essence, this takes away all agency from blacks and keeps them voting for Democrats. Meanwhile, Democrats fail to address the real problems and causes of inequity in black America.

 

We all want justice for George Floyd and his family.

 

Is the resulting death and destruction in the country really helping black communities? Is the left failing to address the real issues affecting black America or will they keep painting streets in performative acts?

Is there a right and a wrong way to fight for justice? Oh also if you don't like questions you should probably stop reading because I don't have all the answers but I do have a whole lot more questions coming up.

Who polices the police and other questions that were not answered in my AP US Government Exam

 

No matter what your stance is on the issue, it’s hard to ignore that all of the recent viral victims of police brutality have been black. When was the last time you saw a white or other POC get shot for sleeping in their own home by law enforcement? This happened twice in the last year. Not to mention, that one of those victims, Breonna Taylor, was an ENT who was on the frontlines of fighting COVID-19 in her community. 

 

The right accuses the left of using race to bait citizens into fighting a race war and dividing the country even more. However, the left defends that the protests are about more than the death of George Floyd. 

 

They are about Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, and the many lives affected my policing and racial profiling in this country. It’s about how white cops are allowed to repeatedly make these “mistakes” and in a lot of cases, they get to walk away with it. 

 

  • If police officers enforce our Constitution and stand between us and anarchy, shouldn’t they be held to the highest standards? 

 

Some of the proposals to increase accountability from activist groups include:

  • 8 that can’t wait proposal by Campaign Zero explains 8 steps mayors can quickly take to instantly stop 72% of police brutality cases across the nation 

  • Decreasing funding to police departments, which often take up 1/2 to 1/3rd of the total city budget, in order to increase funding to disadvantaged schools/ improve access to healthcare (LA mayor just did it)

  • Expanding use of bodycams and training (69% of police officers believe that they were not given enough training to prepare for police work)

  • Diversifying police forces so they reflect the community they protect

  • Holding police accountable for excessive force through independent oversight and federal checks (this would hopefully prevent officers who have received several complaints from continuing to serve)

On All Lives Matter

 

Of course all lives are important and as mentioned earlier, not all police are racist. However, when we take a closer look, the victims of this injustice are black Americans, hence the movement black lives matter. 

 

Not all lives can matter until black lives matter too. Black lives are human lives. No one is saying that black lives matter more than other lives. And conservatives think black lives matter too. 

Chauvin’s already charged though. What else can we do but fire and prosecute bad cops?

 

The movement isn't just about police brutality and like we said earlier, it’s not just about George Floyd. It’s about systemic inequality in America through institutions, such as gerrymandering and redlining, designed to propagate generational poverty.

 

I know that sounded like a lot of jargon. Let’s break that down further. Systemic inequality means that black Americans are:

  • owning 2% of the wealth that white families own due to gaps in college education, income, and home ownership

  • 50% more likely to have high blood pressure and 2x more likely to die from heart disease than whites, due to unequal access to healthcare

  • 6x more likely to go to jail than white men, due to mass incarceration and racial profiling

 

If you’re still not really sure what I’m talking about, think about your own experiences:

  • How many black people go to your school? How many black professors did you have?

  • How many black people work at your firm or in your bank? 

  • How many black doctors have you gone to?

 

Yes, a black man was a president of the US for 8 years and yes of course it is possible to do anything in this country. Black Americans are not victims nor are they any less capable than other Americans to achieve anything. 

 

However, protestors believe that there is a systemic problem in this country that has disproportionately affected generations of black Americans since the time of slavery. It goes far beyond police brutality and into the fabric of our everyday lives.

via Giphy

Does it have to be violent though? 

 

While we’ve come a long way since the 60s (yes racism in America has improved), the country is hurting because in present time black Americans have beared the brunt of 2020 by losing more lives and suffering greater unemployment during COVID-19. Those results are the real time effects of the systemic inequality mentioned earlier.

 

And as far as the violence? It’s the result of being unheard and unequal for a long time. In 1968, there were extremely violent riots for nine days, which resulted in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. They also resulted in economic damage to black communities, which lost jobs and small businesses in the destruction.

 

Other things that have come out of violent pressure on local officials:

  • FBI reopens Breonna Taylor case 

  • Charges against Ahmaud Arbery's murderers and upgrade to charges against Chauvin and other officers 

  • Confederate statues removed

 

There’s no excuse for violence and murder, and we’re not condoning it now. But if there wasn’t violence across the country, do you think we’d be talking about this now or would George Floyd be another hashtag we forgot about a week later? 

 

Wasn’t our country built on riots like the Stamp Act Riots and looting in the Boston Tea Party? Remember there was a time in Boston when soldiers told an increasingly hostile crowd to disperse. The protestors got increasingly agitated and shots fired. The first man killed was a black man by the name of Crispus Attucks. 

 

Sound familiar? The refusal to accept that injustice in the Boston Massacre was one of the events that led to the founding of our great nation, the best country in the world. 

 

While violence and murder cannot be justified, keep in mind that Dr. King himself said “the riot is the voice of the unheard.” In the same way that a great majority of cops are dedicated to enforcing the law fairly, there’s a large majority of protestors who are peaceful. These protestors use singing, dancing, moments of silence, and prayer to demonstrate. 

 

You just don’t see the majority of those demonstrations on the mainstream news in the same way that you don’t see the majority of police who do a good job protecting their communities. 

 

So that means just like we can’t let those “few” violent protestors destroy our cities, we also can’t let those “few” police get away without being held accountable.

 

Why? Well because if no one brings violent rioters to justice then people will think it's okay to destroy communities (which will ultimately hurt the black people who live there) instead of peacefully protesting because there’s no repercussions. 

 

And if no one holds our policemen and women (also can I just say why is it that I rarely see a woman in these police brutality videos) to a higher standard, then law enforcement will think it’s okay to use brutality and racial profiling because there’s no repercussions. 

 

Wow ok see how clear things are when you look at both sides? I really have to stop asking rhetorical questions.

via Giphy

Closing argument

 

  • Black lives matter

  • Race in America isn’t a partisan issue and it runs deeper than police brutality and into education, healthcare, and the justice system

  • We can come up with bipartisan solutions to invest more in black communities

  • Not all police are bad and not all protestors are violent looters (remember, the mainstream media on both sides wants to show you what’s sensational to divide us even more)

  • We can introduce new measures to limit violence and hold police accountable, like we hold all aspects of government accountable according to the Constitution 

  • Violent mobs and looting of small businesses are not productive to the movement, but our country was founded on violent riots and uprisings against injustice and tyranny

Spread some good

 

via me that's right your girl can photoshop

Quote of the week

 

“If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”


-Malcolm X 

 

(Doesn’t sound that different than give me liberty or give me death but that’s just my 2 cents I mean 1.5 cents since the rest will go towards taxes to King George since we’re now living in a parallel reality where violence isn’t excusable)

Thank you, share, subscribe? What else do people say at the end of these things?

Thank you for walking across the aisle with us this week. Now that you have both sides of the story, it’s up to you to decide where you stand. 

 

Regardless of where you end up, we’re thankful that you read ideas that challenged your position, and we hope you’ll leave with a better understanding of the other side.

 

And to reiterate one more time, even if we disagree on the causes of the issues, it's up to all of us to make America a better place and invest in solutions for ALL.

 

See you next week!

 

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This article cites 18 liberal news sources in blue and 17 conservative news sources in red. 21 sources were considered neutral in gray. 

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