I came of age during the counterculture revolution of the 1960s. I did not burn my draft card, but I remember the Vietnam War and protests, the race riots of Watts and the assassinations of President John Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King. I suspect modern day teenagers and twenty-somethings will consider the COVID-19 pandemic and lock downs with school closures, and the looting and riots under the facade of George Floyd’s murder, sentinel events for them and fellow millennials and those of the Z generation.
It is a human tendency to consider any current crisis as preeminent. We often lose sight of other turbulent times such as the Great Depression and the horrors of WWII. The media is the chief purveyor of calamities, especially if the latest disaster can be blamed on a Republican.
The COVID-19 pandemic is real, but never has the world been voluntarily shut because of a plague. We are now learning that shutting down America’s $22 trillion economy was problematic, perhaps not necessary and has caused terrible consequences including personal economic ruin, increased suicide and drug overdoses and domestic violence. A survey by the Census Bureau showed that one third of Americans are now anxious or depressed. Perhaps the violence, looting and destruction are also consequences of people being locked up and stoked with fear and hatred. The same study revealed that those under thirty were the most unhappy, but the older you are the happier you are. I suspect I would be blissful if I only looked out of my windows rather than through the “windows on the world.”
Some might think the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and racism, as well as ANTIFA (anti-fascism), are new and unique. They are not. Anarchists of the early 1900s, the 1960s Weather Underground and SDS (students for a democratic society) are comparable to current day iterations of anarchy.
Humans are tribal creatures and bigotry is a part of our nature. Racism is illogical and wrong. It must be challenged and overcome through reason, law and love. The cop who murdered George Floyd will be tried and probably sentenced to death or life imprisonment. The rule of law, not looting and riots, is the way of a civilized people. Actually, any two humans genetically have more in common than two of any other species on the planet. I wonder if red ants racially profile black ants?
As I watched Mitt Romney, virtue signaling festooned with a black mask while marching in a protest crowd last week, I recalled Winston Churchill’s observations of crocodiles. The former British Prime Minister said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile — hoping it will eat him last.” Mr. Romney, you should be careful. Mobs driven by hatred and passion have less restraint than a crocodile.
At least Romney was wearing a mask in a crowd as opposed to Tom Wolf, the Governor of Pennsylvania, who violated his own decree by marching mask less and shoulder to shoulder with protesters. When you hypocritically violate your own decrees, take away people’s jobs and freedom, release criminals from jails and lock up people for violating the dictates of political functionaries, what do you expect will happen?
Armed anarchists have taken over six blocks in the central district of Seattle, Washington. They also occupied a police precinct station and declared themselves a new country, known as CHAZ. The media led by the leftist NYT called this an “experiment in social justice.” Unfortunately, the experimenting nimrods of CHAZ have become hungry because I just read that they’ve requested vegan food be sent into their enclave.
At this writing the vacuous mayor of Seattle and the effete governor of Washington have done nothing but bend a knee to the mob. The mob will not be placated by weakness. Those who know history remember the French revolution which began with liberty, equality and brotherhood and quickly became a howling mob with a guillotine during the reign of terror.
There is precedent for the secession in Seattle, Washington. The state of South Carolina seceded from the Union in December 1860 and America fought a civil war to preserve the United States at a cost of 620,000 Americans killed. Can anarchists be allowed to take over the center of Seattle, Washington? And what precedent does this and the looting of Minneapolis and New York City set? Do any of these lawless acts have any relationship to the murder of George Floyd?
I wish we were at peace and I could again write about traditional medical topics. However, my patient, our country, is seriously ill and demands my attention and voice. I cannot remain silent, because to do so would be poor stewardship, a dereliction of duty and cowardice.
The German Lutheran minister Martin Niemöller is best known for his poem and anti-Nazi convictions:
“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
“These are times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine during the Revolutionary War. I suspect the souls of all Americans are in turmoil these days. If you are not concerned about your fellow man, our country and the world, you probably need to see a doctor and a minister.
What is needed is not hatred, bi-directional racism or anarchy. We must remain sensitive to and tolerant of our neighbor’s perspectives, but apply the rule of law. Without the former we will have lost our soul and without the latter we will all become victims of the mob.