Monthly Archives: June 2020

Why this statue of Lincoln should go

Associated Press photo

The Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., portrays President Abraham Lincoln, holding his Emancipation Proclamation, with a freshly freed slave at his feet. The statue was erected in 1876 — and certainly is a product of its time.

We have bigger fish to fry than to worry about our public statues, I hear you whine.

You probably maybe are right. COVID-19 continues to ravage the nation because we are a nation of adolescents and thus couldn’t remain locked down for even three full months and so we reopened way prematurely, just collectively pretending that it was all clear; unemployment due to the novel coronavirus pandemic remains a huge problem; the cops, most of them white, keep killing black Americans (men, mostly) when a non- or less-lethal response was possible; and our long-standing problems, such as climate change, insane income inequality and the over-militarization of our nation, of course remain untouched under the “leadership” of the unelected and thus illegitimate “President” Pussygrabber.

But statues are part of the American culture, and it’s not only that Americans create the national culture, but that the national culture also forms Americans.

Generally speaking, a public statue is erected because someone and/or some event is not only to be commemorated, but is to be venerated. Most statues are not, of course, neutral, but are statements of that society’s highest values.

Therefore, it’s entirely appropriate that all public commemorations of the fucking Confederacy, including statues, be removed from public view. Treason, white-supremacist racism and slavery are not to be venerated.

I don’t maintain that all of the offensive and oppressive statues have to be destroyed, but they should be removed from public view. I’m OK with them being warehoused or placed in museums if they’re part of the history that the museum is telling.

But they don’t belong in the public square. All of us have the right to be out and about in public without our senses, our psyches and our souls being assaulted by symbols of tyranny, ignorance and hatred.

True, we could go pretty far with this exercise. George Washington owned slaves. So did Thomas Jefferson. So did even Benjamin Franklin. Ditto for John Hancock and Patrick Henry. I’m not advocating that we raze the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial. Indeed, these monuments were not raised in praise of slavery, but some of the background history there nonetheless is pretty fucking ugly.

Abraham Lincoln, my favorite president, of course never owned a slave, but then again, he also grew up in poverty, and I’d like to think that he’d never have been a slave holder even if he had grown up in wealth and if his formative years had been spent in a slave state instead of mostly in Indiana and Illinois. (He was born in Kentucky, but his family moved to Indiana when he was a young boy and then to Illinois when he was a young man.)

And while Lincoln opposed slavery, he did not believe that whites and blacks were social equals (almost no white person in his day and age did) — something about Lincoln that we don’t routinely teach our young children in school.

Still, looking at Lincoln’s presidency, I think that on balance, given the steep challenges that faced him and how he fared with them, he is the best president that we’ve had.

(For the most part I agree with Wikipedia’s rather glowing assessment of Lincoln that he “led the nation through its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis in the American Civil War. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.”)

But that doesn’t mean that I have to like every statue or other public depiction of Lincoln, and the statue of Lincoln at the Emancipation Memorial (pictured above) — which, unshockingly, was paid for by donations from former slaves but was designed and sculpted by one or more white people — is problematic.

First and foremost, it portrays a white man as the slaves’ savior. Apparently, the white man never can lose; even though he enslaved abducted Africans in the first fucking place, he is to get kudos, too, for finally having set them free. Just: No.

I have a black co-worker who once blithely opined that Barack Obama was a great president because, among other things, she claimed, he “gave us gay marriage.”

No, not true. Not only was it the U.S. Supreme Court, not Obama, that ruled five years ago yesterday that same-sex marriage legally cannot be prohibited anywhere on U.S. soil, but even the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t “give” us non-heterosexuals equal marriage rights.

Those equal human rights already always were there; they were just being denied to us LGBT individuals by an oppressive, heterosexist majority. Ditto for the slaves, of course: Their right to be free always had existed; it was just being denied to them by the tyrannical white majority.

In Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court simply acknowledged where the majority of the American people already were — that it was past the time to stop shitting and pissing upon LGBT individuals — and codified it.

Before and behind that was generations of fighting for equality by non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, who often were brutalized and murdered.

Ditto in the case of Abraham Lincoln. Many, many others, obviously blacks as well as whites (and others), fought for — and died for — the abolition of slavery. That fight culminated in the Emancipation Proclamation, but to act as though the Emancipation Proclamation came out of thin air — or even from one person — is to ignore blatantly the actual history.

(Yet another parallel: Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but did he “give” black Americans equal human and civil rights that even the Emancipation Proclamation hadn’t gained them? No. Again, many, many people had fought for — and died for — civil-rights advancements before Johnson signed any legislation. And these rights weren’t created, as they always already had existed.)

The statue at the Emancipation Memorial keeps the white man above the black man — figuratively as well as literally. The spirit of it is that the white man freed the black man — as though an act of nature, instead of white people, had created slavery — and the shadow aspect of that is that because the white man retains the upper hand over the black man, he could reverse himself and reinstitute the slavery of the black man at any time.

Note that Frederick Douglass, who justifiably had some issues with Lincoln, disliked the statue at the Emancipation Memorial, and note that, of course, since the statue commemorated the 11th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, we have no way of knowing what he himself would have thought of such a depiction of himself. (My best guess is that Lincoln would have thought the statue to be gauche, even for 1876.)

I surmise that the statue at the Emancipation Memorial will remain there for a time to come, as the issue of its continued existence is hashed out, but I’m perfectly OK with its removal. (It’s now being protected by a barrier because activists have targeted it to be removed.)

A statue that’s in the public square should represent the better angels of our nature.

I think that’s what Lincoln would have wanted.

P.S. This is a wonderful recent Washington Post news photo of the usual suspect arguing for the Emancipation Memorial to remain intact while an activist who supports its removal has to suffer his presence:

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For pride month, U.S. Supreme Court shoots down LGBT discrimination

Getty Images news photo

People rally for federally protected LGBT rights in the workplace in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2019. Today, they — we — won our case.

Politico reports this morning:

The Supreme Court ruled [today] that the key federal law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace protects gay, lesbian or transgender employees from being disciplined or fired based on their sexual orientation.

Two of the court’s Republican appointees, Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts, joined the court’s Democratic appointees to deliver the surprising, 6-3 victory to LGBT advocates.

Writing for the court’s majority, Gorsuch accepted arguments that the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also effectively banned bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, even though few if any members of Congress thought they were doing that at the time.

“Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the Act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees,” Gorsuch wrote.

“But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands,” he continued. “When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.”

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the ruling. …

It’s funny how even though the spirit of the Civil Rights Act always has been crystal clear — sex discrimination is discrimination that’s rooted in the individual’s sex, and so if, say, you maintain that as a man you can fire me for being in a relationship with another man, you clearly are discriminating against me on the basis of my sex (you claim that I “should” be only with a woman — or that if I’m with a man I “should” be only a woman) — the ignorant haters have demanded the “right” to unconstitutionally discriminate against non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming individuals because such hatred and malice was not explicitly prohibited in the language of the law, which was written when LGBT individuals didn’t even exist. (They never were discussed in “polite” company, so they must not have existed, right?)

Again: It’s funny how the homophobes, most of them “Christian,” insist on hating and discriminating against unless the law explicitly prohibits it. They have no inner moral compass; they know only the ignorance and the hatred that they are taught, usually under some degree of duress (the [albeit bogus] threat of eternal hell fire, for example, would be duress).

The Supreme Court’s surprise ruling — which is going to be more difficult for the “Christo”fascists to attack, since it was decided 6-3 — means that the effort to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which was meant to codify LGBT protections against discrimination into federal law, is now moot.

The last major Supreme Court decision regarding LGBT rights before today’s was June 2015’s Obergefell vs. Hodges, which required same-sex marriage to be legally recognized throughout the nation.

Keep in mind something: The constitutional rights to marry a member of your own sex — to not be discriminated against on the basis of your biological sex where marriage rights are concerned — and not to be discriminated against in the workplace because of who or what you are always have existed.

That is, human rights and constitutional rights inherently exist. They’re not given, they’re not granted, they don’t have to be fucking earned. No, the case is that either they are recognized as the rights that they are or they illegally and immorally are not recognized as the rights that they are.

The discrimination against LGBT individuals has been illegal as well as immoral all along. It’s only that today, we’re finally formally recognizing that fucking fact.

And, of course, just as federally recognized and protected same-sex marriage didn’t magically eliminate discrimination against LGBT individuals, this Supreme Court ruling won’t, either.

But it’s a pretty good place to start.

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Die for Der Führer!

I’m fine with using this wonderful image again. (The occasion this time is “President” Pussygrabber’s “re”-election campaign informing those who wish to attend his upcoming KKK rally that they cannot sue if they contract the novel coronavirus while they attend it.)

I get it that “our” “president” doesn’t give a flying fuck about me. I’m an atheist, a socialist (as much as you can be a socialist in a nation in end-stage capitalism, anyway) and a gay man who would rather castrate himself with a toothpick than vote for Pussygrabber in November (I never vote Repugnican, as I don’t vote for the enemy), and I’d find Pussygrabber’s death, however it might come about, cause for a huge celebration (perhaps “social distancing” be damned…).

But you’d think that Pussygrabber would care about his own fucking supporters. But no. Pussygrabber, a poster child for his baby-boom generation — just like our last unelected, sociopathic “president,” George W. Bush, was (and still is) — cares only about one human being on the planet: himself, of course.

Politico reported recently:

Supporters of President Donald Trump will soon be able to attend one of his signature, raucous campaign rallies again after a monthslong hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic — but first, they must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus after the event.

The Trump campaign on Thursday sent out registration information for the president’s first rally since March, with the campaign’s chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, proclaiming that there is “no better place” to restart rallies than Tulsa, Okla.

But the fine print on the registration page for the June 19 event underscores the continued health risks associated with reviving the “Make America Great Again” rallies, which pack thousands of supporters into arenas for hours at a time — doors for next week’s rally open four hours before Trump is set to begin, for instance.

Right above a red “register” button on the page, the site includes a short disclaimer, informing attendees that “by clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”

The disclaimer goes on to warn that by attending the rally, attendees and their guests “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” and agree not to hold the campaign, Tulsa’s BOK Center or a slew of other related parties “liable for any illness or injury.”

The page makes no mention of any social-distancing requirements or other safety precautions that will be in place at the rally, nor does it note the CDC’s recommendation that Americans wear face coverings while indoors in situations where social distancing might be difficult. …

Yes, there perhaps indeed is “no better place” to resume the “president’s” KKK rallies than Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wikipedia notes:

The Tulsa race massacre (also called the Tulsa race riot, the Greenwood Massacre, or the Black Wall Street Massacre) of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.” The attack, carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the district — at that time the wealthiest black community in the United States, known as “Black Wall Street.”

More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and as many as 6,000 black residents were interned at large facilities, many for several days. The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics officially recorded 36 dead, but the American Red Cross declined to provide an estimate. A 2001 state commission examination of events was able to confirm 36 dead, 26 black and 10 white, based on contemporary autopsy reports, death certificates and other records. The commission gave overall estimates from 75-100 to 150-300 dead. …

In another stunning “coincidence,” the KKK rally for “President” Pussygrabber’s “re”-election also originally was scheduled to be held on June 19 — Juneteenth. Wikipedia describes Juneteenth thusly:

Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth), also known as Freedom DayJubilee Day and Cel-Liberation Day, is an American holiday celebrated annually on June 19. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.

Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. It spread across the South and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, it was eclipsed by the struggle for postwar civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African-American freedom and arts.

By the 21st century, Juneteenth was celebrated in most major cities across the United States. Activists are pushing Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 47 of the 50 states. …

To demonstrate that he’s not a total ogre, Pussygrabber moved his KKK rally in Tulsa to one day later, on June 20. (It’s still going to be at the site of the massacre of black Americans by white Americans, however.)

We expect Racist in Chief Pussygrabber to piss and shit all over black Americans, just as he pissed and shit all over Latinos right out of the gate, before he even took office although he received almost 3 fucking million fewer votes than did Billary Clinton (which he had to lie was only because of “voting fraud,” because he is a fascist piece of shit who is wholly unconcerned with actually having been democratically elected and who pathologically lies to the American people because he’s a self-serving fucking traitor).

Again, you would expect, though, that even Pussygrabber, as incredibly craven as he amply has shown himself to be, would care at least a tiny bit about his own fucking supporters.

But no:

You are to risk your health and even your life — and the health and even the lives of your loved ones and others you will come into contact with after the KKK rally in Tulsa on June 20 — by being a mere prop in a “re”-election campaign ad for Pussygrabber.

And if you contract COVID-19 — which the Pussygrabber “re”-election campaign schizophrenically openly states, at least in its you-can’t-sue-us-for-having-put-you-in-harm’s-way language, is a real possibility even though all of us Americans are just supposed to pretend that the novel coronavirus pandemic is all over with when, in fact, cases of and deaths from COVID-19 are rising all over the nation — then too bad, so sad. (Or, as Pussygrabber would put it, “SAD!!!”)

This should be a huge problem for Pussygrabber’s supporters — that they are no more than political props to him and that he does not care whether they live or die (just as long as enough of them live to vote for his “re”-election) — but, as we are painfully aware of by now, Pussygrabber’s supporters are nowhere near normal.

Thankfully, based upon his approval ratings, it’s safe to say that no more than around 42 percent of Americans support the unelected fascist demagogue. (Right in line with his approval rating of only around 42 percent, in nationwide match-up polls, Pussygrabber right now stands around 42 percent to Hidin’ Joe Biden’s around 50 percent.)

That’s still a huge chunk of Americans who support Pussygrabber, and it’s way too many of them, but it’s not enough support to win a presidential election — if the rest of us, the majority, vote in November.

If you live in a swing state — and the consensus is that because of the workings of the obsolete Electoral College, the 2020 presidential election will be decided in just six swing states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — then I advise you to vote for Joe Biden, even if he doesn’t excite you, as he doesn’t excite me.

But I have the luxury of living in California, whose 55 electoral votes Biden is going to win in November no matter what.

At this point, I lean toward not voting for Repugnican Lite Biden, since there’s no question that, as long as he’s not dead or seriously incapacitated, he’s going to win my state and all of its electoral votes.

My vote for Biden would count in the popular vote, but, contrary to what so many Americans so erroneously believe, the popular vote isn’t what determines the presidency — it’s the anti-democratic Electoral College that does.

Don’t get me wrong. Could “President” Pussygrabber’s mounting insanity and fascism induce me to vote even for Hidin’ Joe Biden, who struggles to speak and whose “strength” and “strategy” apparently is his relative invisibility while “President” Pussygrabber continues to melt down in the face of a pandemic, serious unrest over racial injustice and a continuing economic collapse?

Yes, I suppose that Pussygrabber could induce me to vote even for Biden (Biden himself could not induce me to vote for him, let me state for the record), but I hope that it doesn’t come to that.

In the meantime, do I care if mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, MAGA-cap wearing fucktards contract COVID-19 at one of Pussygrabber’s KKK rallies? No. I could lie to be “nice,” I suppose, but I won’t.

My concern would be only for the others who shouldn’t be removed from the gene pool who so easily could be infected with the novel coronavirus by Pussygrabber’s fascist lemmings after Pussygrabber selfishly has proceeded with his KKK rallies because there is no greater cause in the universe than himself.

P.S. Some whose logic and reason are impaired might compare Pussygrabber’s upcoming KKK rallies to the recent protests in the streets, claiming that if the protests are OK, then the “president’s” KKK rallies are OK.

Yes, both political activities are “social-distancing” nightmares, but the protests have been spontaneous and organic and have not been centrally coordinated, and they have not been coordinated by a sitting U.S. president. If a shitload of people all over the U.S. really want to go out and protest (and even riot and loot and vandalize), there’s not much that could be done to prevent them from doing so.

Pussygrabber’s KKK rallies, however, obviously are not spontaneous, but are planned and organized, and, of course, they are planned and organized at the direction of “our” “president” — who is so craven that he doesn’t give a fuck about putting the well-being and even the lives of even his own supporters in jeopardy, as long as he perceives a benefit to himself.

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BLM has overplayed its hand already

Angry protesters shouted at Mayor Jacob Frey in Minneapolis on Saturday.
New York Times news photo

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was a great stand-in for The Man, a wonderful punching bag, but calls to abolish police departments are losing the American public at a time when they’re probably more willing than ever to take apart our police departments piece by piece and to put them back together again, only right this time.

I’m sure that those gathered who on Saturday made the modest demand to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey that he promise on the spot to simply abolish the city’s police department felt great about themselves.

I hope that they really savored the moment (they certainly appeared to have done so), because they just wounded their movement, perhaps fatally.

The protesters apparently thought that they were some real badasses, driving Frey away to a chorus of boos like a scene from “A Game of Thrones” (which even has a villain by the surname of Frey), but they made themselves look like mega-asses — like irrational bullies — to the entire nation.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all a fan of the cops. I’m aware that a huge chunk of them, if not the majority of them, are white, right-wing supporters of “President” Pussygrabber who verge on fascism if they’re not already there.

And yes, of course this brand of cop is racist, unconsciously so to wholly consciously so, and yes, this racism obviously has real-world consequences, from smaller ones to fatal ones, for those civilians who are within the racist cops’ sphere of influence.

However, to claim that we need no police officers at all — that we can do this thing called life entirely on the honor system — is beyond ludicrous.

I wish that we had no need for police officers, that we could regulate ourselves to the point that we made cops superfluous. But we’re nowhere near that point yet.

Crimes like assault and battery, murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape and other serious sexual assualt, kidnapping, arson, robbery, burglary, drunk driving and animal cruelty cannot just be ignored.

And nor can these serious crimes, which cause or can cause serious pain and suffering or death, be handled by an Officer Friendly, a cop, such as a community services officer, who isn’t fully trained to deal with the worst of what we human beings can come up with.

We absolutely must fire (and where appropriate, prosecute) law enforcement officers who display racism, as they cannot do their jobs equitably, responsibly and safely, and we must demilitarize our law enforcement officers across the United States — cops who want to play G.I. Joe should join the military (which needs to be largely defunded, but that’s another commentary) — and I agree that the word “reform” rings awfully hollow when, “reform” after “reform,” we still see abominations like the slow, cruel, sickeningly casual murder of George Floyd by a white cop.

I am all for taking a bad police department apart, piece by piece, deciding which pieces to keep and which to eject, and then putting the whole thing back together again, with as many new, good pieces as necessary.

But I reject calls to do away with law enforcement altogether. The United States of America already is looking like a third-world nation as it is. (My own neighborhood is filled with buildings with their windows and doors covered by plywood, either because they’ve already been vandalized and/or looted or because they have been concerned that they might be.) It doesn’t need to get even worse. It could, and if we let it, it would.

Aside from whatever I think, pushing the abolition of law enforcement officers would be fatal at the ballot box, perhaps especially on the presidential level. Hidin’ Joe Biden is not at all on board with the idea, so you know that that’s true.

Black Lives Matter already has the majority of Americans on its side. Recent nationwide polls show, among other things, that: two-thirds of Americans believe (correctly) that our criminal “justice” system favors white Americans over black Americans; more than 80 percent of all Americans support those who peacefully are protesting police officers who abuse their power; 60 percent of Americans oppose the deployment of the U.S. military to deal with civilian protesters; and twice as many Americans are more concerned about the abuses of power committed by our cops than they are concerned about even protests that have become violent.

That said, a nationwide Monmouth University poll taken recently shows that 41 percent of the respondents are “very satisfied” with their local police departments, while 30 percent are “somewhat satisfied” — and only 15 percent called themselves somewhat or very dissatisfied.

Americans appear to be a bit schizophrenic where our cops are concerned, but public opinion, I believe, would be behind serious efforts to take our bad police departments apart, brick by brick, and to put them back together again in a way that is safer and more just for all civilians.

Simple “reform” won’t do the trick because nothing is actually being re-formed, that is, completely taken apart and put back together again, with the parts that don’t work being replaced with good parts. What is called “reform” more often than not is just window dressing put up with the hopes and expectations that the political storm will pass soon enough and we can get back to business as usual again.

But with a clear majority of Americans actually being satisfied with their local police departments, pushing for the abolition of the police altogether is worse than a political non-starter; it can harm efforts that otherwise would have made a big difference — because the American public was just way too turned off by calls to abolish the police altogether, and so stopped listening altogether.

P.S. Terminology is important here. To me, a demand to “defund” a police department, without explaining exactly how that would work, essentially is a call to abolish that police department — it’s only that to “defund” sounds less ludicrous than to “abolish.”

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Only one cause at at time for us, please

Remember me?

After it had become clear that the novel coronavirus pandemic had become a thing, my e-mail inboxes started to fill with COVID-19-related e-mails. Even, and maybe even especially, entities with only the slightest relationship to the pandemic sent me schmaltzy e-mails that, in my eyes, made them look only worse for having mindlessly, sheepfully jumped onto the bandwagon, not better.

And, of course, crisis capitalism quickly ensued — this is the U S of A, after all, and we won’t allow any crisis to pass without having at least tried hard to capitalize on it — with everyone selling online face masks (which you might ever receive or not, and which, if you do, might even actually be usable or not) and hand sanitizer being sold for many times its actual worth. Don’t even get me started about the run on toilet paper.

But COVID-19 actually sustained the nation’s attention for more that two whole months, which just might be record in and of itself. (Maybe during my lifetime, 9/11 still has the national-attention record.)

Now, though, we’ve already forgotten about the novel coronavirus, although it certainly hasn’t forgotten about us, and we’ve moved on to the next murder of a black man by a white cop.

And now, I’m getting e-mails from pretty much any entity that has ever sent me an e-mail before, stating that they stand up for racial justice, even if their business is only tangentially related to the topic at best.

I’m for racial justice, too, but shouldn’t that be a given? I mean, do you really get props for standing up against, say, cancer or the abuse of kittens and puppies? More pointedly: Do you really get special credit for being against that which you should be against anyfuckingway? And is merely stating that you are against something the same thing as actually having done something, anything, to help anyone or anything?

Don’t get me wrong — as I have noted, the cruel murder of George Floyd is a sickening, outrage-inducing travesty, and obviously we have plenty of work to do to prevent even more vicitims like George Floyd — but even I am a bit amazed by how quickly the national attention switched from a deadly virus that thus far has killed almost 110,000 Americans (and counting) to racism and racial justice, protests, riots, free speech, policing, vandalizing and looting.

We went right from week after week of “social distancing” to protesters pretty much overnight packing our public spaces shoulder to shoulder. Virus? What virus?

And that, I surmise, might be a huge factor behind the protests sparked by the murder by cop of George Floyd: Because of the mandatory governmental lockdown (and slowdown) orders (which I still view as fairly necessary nationwide), young people had been cooped up indoors for weeks on end, all of that energy building up.

On top of that, our young people, many if not most of them employed in the service sector, have had to contend with COVID-19-related job loss and being able to continue to pay for rent and other necessities — unlike the baby boomers, who always have had the plum jobs and have been able to be homeowners and who continue to profiteer off of our young people.

All that our already-fuming young people needed, then, was a spark.

Because the cold-blooded, racism-induced murder of George Floyd certainly isn’t all that our young people have to be enraged about.

They are inheriting a debt-ridden national economy — those of us who are younger than the baby boomers are being stuck with the debt that the baby boomers are forcing upon us so that they can continue to live their lavish lifestyles now and not have to worry at all about the national debt, since they’ll be dead.

Again, our young people are inheriting a national (and an increasingly global) economy in which most jobs are dead-end service-sector jobs that provide nothing approaching a living wage, much more decent benefits, probably especially decent health care that won’t bankrupt them from the out-of-pocket costs.

Our young people also are inheriting an incredibly dysfunctional political system in which the elected officials do not do what the majority of their constituents want them to do — for example, a clear majority of Americans want Medicare for All, which neither “President” Pussygrabber nor Repugnican-Lite Hidin’ Joe Biden supports (those are our “choices” for president this year — much like our “choices” were in 2016).

And our young people watch fairly politically helplessly as the baby boomers frivolously squander every last cent of our national wealth on themselves, such as for their McMansions, their luxury cars and their recreational vehicles, their plastic surgeries and other their pathetic, lost-cause attempts to regain their youth, and, as soon as they’re allowed to resume them, their golfing, their fine dining, their cruises and their trips around the world.

And I haven’t even mentioned the jaw-dropping devastation to the planet that the baby boomers — formerly the “flower children” who were going to save the world — have continued to wreak or to just sit back and allow to continue to happen because Hey, their lives are going just swell!

So, again, I don’t think that our young people’s righteous anger is only about George Floyd (whether all of them are even consciously aware of that or not). Floyd’s murder by cop was the spark, yes, but the fuel had been building up for quite some time.

I fully support protest for change, even when I’m not sure how effective it will be. In my fifth decade on the planet, I’ve seen a fairly clear pattern: Shit builds up, shit is released, then shit builds up again, then shit is released again, and on and on — just like in an abusive relationship — but the fundamentals of American society appear to remain the same (just like in an abusive relationship…). Indeed, our overlords (most of them baby boomers, if I haven’t mentioned the baby boomers yet…), count on each storm eventually blowing over and things more or less going right back to “normal.”

In the meantime, I’m still amazed at how quickly the nation apparently forgot all about COVID-19, and I expect to receive a lot more e-mails about how businesses and organizations so valiantly are against the murder of black Americans by our cops.

P.S. Crisis capitalism hasn’t missed the protests over the death of George Floyd. (Nothing is sacred to capitalism, and especially to crisis capitalism.) Online and via e-mail I’ve seen all kinds of ads for T-shirts, books and movies (for purchase or for rent) related to racial justice. Sure, it’s timely, but it’s also about making money from the murder of a black man.

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