I always look at the news with an eye toward rationality, and it takes one odd places, looking at irrational acts — rationally.
I will be brief.
Two days ago Mayor Frey did what I called and still call, a heroic stance, in calling for a culpable officer to be held accountable. The narrative has now been usurped by one of civil unrest.
Here is the thing, in any city you will have the people who actually want to make bad situations better, see real and valid change. And you will have that small segment, on both sides of the argument, who just want to see things get worse.
While protests and peaceful organized demonstrations are part and parcel of how historically,things requiring change have been brought to the forefront; riots and chaos are something else entirely. I have never understood the anatomy of a riot, any more than I understand the anatomy of a mob, in both situations it is about venting and losing control. The only one who benefits from riots or civil unrest, oddly enough, is law enforcement.
So I think most people in Minneapolis get this, get that civil unrest only works to obscure the actual argument, namely making sure a murderer gets punished and a pattern of organized misconduct addressed. But you have the bad apples, on both sides of the argument, the criminal element, who just uses this (or is paid to use this) as an excuse to see things burn and, the bigger picture boys, who use those spurred actions to justify the type of violence and policing, that initiated the matter to begin with.
Here is how you know– if the crowd you are in, is for you. Is this action that this mob or crowd is engaged in, going to make your hands, your heart, your homestead, your house, your, block, your family— cleaner? If the answer to that is ‘No’, then you are in the wrong crowd.
I am not huge on protests per se, just standing around and shouting and chanting and holding signs up, however boycotts are different. Boycotts where there is an actual economic component to what you are requesting, what the other side is losing, that more than anything is where real change comes from.
We remember the speeches and the marches, but what really empowered and ultimately won civil rights victories and legitimate change, during tumultuous times in the 20th century, were boycotts, such as the Pullman porters and the Montgomery boycott.
That, more than a thousand chants, or holding up signs, or even rioting, the straight-forward nuts and bolts process of holding municipalities and companies and departments fiscally responsible, boycotting mass transit, boycotting parking meters, boycotting businesses (that do not assist or endorse petitions calling for improvements),— this has real weight. When your argument is about removing finances from your opponents pockets, causing them to see their treatment of a population— affects their income — then you have lever and leverage — to move mountains.
That’s a novel 20th century idea, that I think we have lost in the 21st century. And need to get back to— now more than ever. This idea that bad actors, and treating your population poorly, can cost a department, a neighborhood, a city, a corporation , a nation— money.
So here is hoping that smarter cooler heads, stem the distractions (calculated) occurring in Minneapolis, and get back to the process of crafting a relationship between public and public servant… that works.