Don’t kill the protesters

More journal:

6/12 Remember when the Soleimani killing was presumed to be the most consequential event of 2020? Thought it would be interesting to revisit some of Trump’s tweets from January 12, 2020, six months ago, when he was in the midst of his maximum pressure campaign against Iran. At 9:48 am he issued an all cap warning to the country’s leaders: “DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” adding “The World is watching.” At 10:06 he said that John Kerry regrets “ridiculously giving the 150 Billion Dollars Plus” to the regime. At 10:26, he quoted an op ed extolling his Iranian deal making and at 12:12, he plugged Jeanine Pirro’s show. After spending the rest of the afternoon on the impeachment hoax, at 7:46 pm he once again cautioned Iran not to “kill your protesters,” but in lowercase this time.

Wonder what they think about our own protests in Iran now–and Trump’s vow to dominate the streets. “The Americans have for years lectured other countries on human rights,” Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani said yesterday. “And now it has been revealed for the whole world that the issue of human rights for the US is nothing but a means to achieve its objectives.” The account I read noted that “the senior cleric predicted that what happened to the former Soviet Union awaits the US due to the oppression and the crimes that Washington commits against innocent people.”

6/10 Even as Sweden admits that maybe its “herd immunity” plan sacrificed more people than it needed to, the US is throwing up its hands and letting the coronavirus burn. I think I understand the Republican thinking: if 120,000 or so excess deaths didn’t bring down the house in three months, then 250,000 in six months, or a million in a year won’t do much harm to them either.

It seems astounding until you look at it from a perspective that puts capital before people. Setting aside the elderly and people with chronic conditions (“takers,” as Mitt Romney might have called them, when he thought he still had a chance to be president), the virus pretty much maps exactly with poverty and race. If Americans are able to live with the vast health, wealth and justice disparities that exist for non-white and low-net worth demographics, then why should a higher death rate change anything? Look at all the other things Americans have made their peace with: school and workplace shootings, medical rationing, high infant and maternal mortality rates, and open voter suppression.

It’s really no wonder that people who don’t see through that particular lens are out in the streets. The virus isn’t the worst thing we’re facing after all.

6/8 “Can you imagine if stop-and-frisk Mike Bloomberg, who used police as a weapon, had somehow won the nomination?” Charles Blow tweeted this morning. “Dems would be dead in the water in this moment of protest against police brutality.”

Counterthought: That’s WHY Bloomberg got so little traction–because Democrats aren’t the least bit hungry for a rich authoritarian of their own. Neither are independents. This is a very different race than we had four years ago.

Things are tipping everywhere you look.

6/6 Childhood memory: I was a nice Jewish boy, raised in the suburbs by loving, overprotective parents. I’m about ten, so it’s 1967. My father and I are in a car with my bohemian Uncle Archie, a one-time Communist who made good on Madison Avenue. We’re driving through Westchester, and we pass a building whose workers had been on strike. “The cops came in,” Archie was saying, “And broke their heads.”

“Why did they do that?” I piped up from the back seat. My father gave my uncle a look and they both fell silent. I sat there thinking about broken heads for the rest of the ride.

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