Why Do We Have Urban Violence? WTFK.

Many of my readers may not be old enough to remember the urban riots that occurred in Newark, Detroit, and many other cities during the summer months of 1967. But I remember them very well because I spent that summer driving across the country to enroll in graduate school, and it seemed that just about every city I drove through was experiencing some degree of civil unrest.

What was the reaction to those riots? The Right said that law and order had broken down and needed to be restored. The Left said that the violence, burnings, and lootings were a response to police brutality, poverty, and other ways in which African-Americans were getting screwed. The federal government appointed a commission to study the problem, various community leaders, religious and otherwise, called for calm.

Here we are, more than fifty years later, and the same scenario is playing out again. The cops shoot some unarmed guy or stomp someone to death, the video goes viral, the crowds go into the streets, Trump calls for the police to crack down on the lawbreakers, Joe says that what happened is ‘too bad.’

If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you a little historical perspective on all this.

In 1936, a civil war broke out in Spain which resulted in the appearance of a brutal, Fascist regime. Headed by Francisco Franco, the dictatorship lasted until 1975.

The 1936-39 civil war unleashed a level of violence and death that touched just about everyone living in Spain. Franco kept the country from any further unrest by cracking down on anyone who said or did anything that evoked feelings on either side. It was said that ‘ni palabra ni pio’ was allowed, which meant not a word, not a sound.

When Franco died, everyone believed that the violence would break out again. After all, many of the people who were killed, tortured, or expelled from the country had relatives and close friends who were still alive.

Know what happened? In short order Spain went from being the most,repressive political regime to what is the most progressive, liberated and openly free society in Europe today. And it happened without so much as a peep. Not one shot was fired, not one old score was settled with violence, things moved on.

Now let’s look at what happened in Yugoslavia, during and after World War II. The country was invaded by the Nazis but a strong, left-wing resistance led by Joseph Broz Tito pushed the Wehrmacht out of the country by the end of 1944 with Tito then taking power and running the country for the next 36 years.

During and after the war, all kinds of personal and political scores were settled, the estimates of deaths run into the several millions, nobody knows how many were killed. What we do know is that Tito installed the same kind of repressive government from the Left that Franco installed from the Right. If you wanted to say anything which might be considered a challenge to the Tito regime, you better say it outside the country, not within.

It took 11 years for things to unravel after Tito’s demise, but in 1991 a series of violent conflicts broke out which ultimately resulted in the disappearance of Yugoslavia, the emergence of six separate nation-states, and the loss of as many as 200,000 lives. As late as 2010, there are still more than 10,000 people who disappeared and have never been seen again.

How is it that a repressive regime goes away in one country without so much as the slightest violence at all, and in another country, the same shift from dictatorship to democracy causes thousands of lives to be destroyed? I’ll give you an answer right out of the corporate playbook: WTFK (Who The F### Knows.)

I have been listening to the Right and the Left ‘explain’ urban violence in America to me for what is now more than 50 years and at some point, I go back to what happened in Yugoslavia and Spain. The only thing I can say about what happened in those two countries and what is happening in Kenosha, Portland and other American cities right now is WTFK.

But I’m still going to vote for Joe and Kammie and you better vote for them too.

Want To Overcome Covid-19? Try Race-Baiting. Works Every Time.

              In 1953, the Supreme Court ruled that ‘separate wasn’t equal,’ and that Blacks were second-class citizens, notwithstanding the 13th Amendment passed in 1865.  Two years later, a seamstress working in a department store in Montgomery, AL named Rosa Parks, refused a driver’s order to sit in the back of the bus, and the modern, civil rights campaign began. The campaign culminated in August, 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech before more than a quarter of a million gathered in Washington, D.C.

              Two years later, thanks to the arm-twisting by a Southern liberal named Lyndon Johnson, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were passed. Three years later, Richard Nixon promised political leaders from the Confederate states that he would ‘go slow’ on enforcing federal civil rights laws, a clever strategy that completely remade the political alignment of the United States.

              What used to be the ‘solid South’ for Democrats is now even more solid for the GOP. And to keep this alignment intact so that populous, liberal states like New York and California don’t dominate the Electoral College map, the GOP finds it both convenient and sometimes necessary to fashion their national campaigns around the issue of race.

              Remember Ronald Reagan’s ‘welfare queen?’ Sure, Reagan peppered every stump speech with various one-liners designed to back up his argument that government social programs were no good. But did he have to use such a blatant racist appeal to drive home the idea that welfare was bad? He didn’t, but he did.

              Then in 1988, George Bush was behind in all the polls until he ran his Willie Horton ad which showed a Black guy who was given a furlough from jail and immediately went out and committed some terrible crimes. You mean the Massachusetts penal system hadn’t given an early release to some White guy who then committed the same crimes or worse? Of course it had.

              Race happens to be the only domestic issue over which the two political parties take a fundamentally different approach. But you’ll say – hey, wait a minute, what about taxes? Republicans always cut taxes while Democrats love to spend. So guess who was responsible for signing a bill that has contributed the most personal income to the U.S. Treasury of all time. The great tax-cutter Ronald Reagan, who doubled the payroll tax rate in 1983.

              Racial issues took a back seat in the Presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, and to his credit, John McCain went out of his way to stamp out racial references during his campaign. Romney had enough problems defending himself as a hard-hearted plutocrat in 2012 and, after all, it wasn’t polite to throw racial epithets at the President of the United States.

              Those reservations on the part of the GOP have become completely undone by a Republican President who goes out of his way to stoke racial resentments every chance he gets. You think his description of Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists’ isn’t an appeal to racist fears? You think when Trump laughed and said, “Where’s my African-America?” at a California campaign stop that he wasn’t invoking the worst, most insidious form of race-baiting that there ever was? Yea, big joke.

              This is a time when people are scared. This is a time when people are afraid. What happens when people get scared? They take out their fears and worries by looking for someone or something to blame.

When the corona virus first appeared, Trump blamed the World Health Organization and the Chinese. The only problem is that after he got done telling everyone that it was someone else’s fault, the virus continued to spread.

We are at the point that this pandemic may actually result in adding more than 10 percent to the number of Americans who die in 2020 compared to the number who normally die every year. So the fear will continue to grow, which means that Trump needs to find another target, and what better-proven target is out there than the idea that a bunch of Black thugs are running around burning down the place?

Think Trump wants to go to Kenosha to sit down with the family of Jacob Blake?

Please get a flu shot. Please.