Maybe things are calming down a bit. After a wild response, to say the least, to the murder of George Floyd of a Minneapolis police officer while three others stood by and, I don’t know, took bets on how long he’d last, the country erupted in anger over yet another dead black person due to the police and a seemingly uncaring legal system.
Protesters took to the streets, and cops being cops, met them with tear gas and riot gear right out of the box. As expected, violence ensued and, as expected, people who didn’t give a tinker’s damn about institutionalized police violence again took to the chaos for different reasons. Some are anti-government from the left, some are anti-government from the right, some just want an excuse to start a race war, and some just want an excuse to stomp and smash and bash and crash and slash and bust and burn.
Inevitably, more deaths came out of it. In Louisville, police and the National Guard opened fire on a group of protesters and managed to kill only Dave McAtee. Known as the “BBQ Man,” he ran Ya Ya’s BBQ and was well loved in the community and would give free meals to police officers. One has to wonder if one of his former customers killed him and if that customer really cared.
In Saint Louis, a retired police officer named David Dorn was killed during a burglary. A 38-year veteran and former captain, Dorn was also well liked in his community and a respected former captain. Now conservatives can stop pretending to care about police violence since they’ve got another dead black guy they can pretend to care about, but as of yet there’s nothing to connect Dorn’s killing to any actual protesters.
And, of course, our wet noodle of a President. After spending Sunday hiding in a bunker with the lights off – though he claims he was “inspecting it” because, sure, why not – he had peaceful protesters,including clergy, in Lafayette Park gassed so he could make a speech. Standing in front of Saint John’s Episcopal Church and holding a Bible like a dead fish, Trump said a bunch of unhelpful nonsense. The actual clergy of the church denounced everything about the damn fool’s useless photo op, and the spineless Secretary of Defense Mark Esper swears up and down it was to inspect a defaced bathroom. Because, again, why not, nothing matters.
But, last night was calm. The cops seemed to have settled down, probably coming down from that post-orgasmic high. The protesters kept up the heat, but so long as the fuzz doesn’t put on the jackboots, no real problems occur. It’s amazing people don’t get this, and it’s amazing I can pretend they’re actually unaware of this fact long enough not to get struck down by lightning to finish this sentence.
So, of course, it was the perfect opportunity for The New York Times, the paper of record, to print an op-ed by pencil-necked fascist Tom “Someone Else’s Blood & Guts” Cotton calling for sending in the troops to “contain” the protesters. This comes just a few days after the same Arkie Senator called for “no quarter” against citizens of this country if they didn’t behave like white people wanted them to.
This, of course, lit the hairs on Twitter’s collective ass on fire. All day folks, especially journalists, have been decrying Cotton’s wet dream. It makes sense journalists don’t think much of it, as this round of police crackdown on free speech and right to assembly has been particularly brutal on journalists. Editorial page editor James Bennet tried to explain the public need to hear Cotton’s one-handed opinion, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why. If you’re into such things, remember Cotton penned a letter many actual serving military found “mutinous” that encouraged Iran to back out of the 2015 nuclear agreement Barack Obama set up. This was, of course, the agreement that Trump scuttled and that’s turned out so well.
So here we are. A couple of days after the Dipstick-In-Chief announced he would proclaim AntiFa a domestic terrorism group, something as useless as it is dumb unless he just wants to quash any discouraging words – and you know he does – we have a sitting senator advocating using military force against people who have the audacity to complain about the legal system letting black folks being summarily executed just because cops feel like killing someone. Even worse, the country’s leading newspaper is giving the dingleberry room to print his masturbatory fantasies without, as of yet, any sort of contradictory voice.
Now, before we decry the fall of the Grey Lady, it’s important to remember the Times has long been the mouthpiece for the Status Quo and American exceptionalism, and it’s “unhinged leftist bias” is largely in the mind of dumbass Trump supporters and conservatives (but I repeat myself). They backed Reagan on Iran-Contra and sidelined any leaks on the Afghan War. Furthermore, thanks to Judith Miller, they were full throated in their approval of the unjustified, unnecessary war with Iraq, basically parroting Bush Administration claims without even pretending otherwise.
It’s not even a new thing. Leading up to World War 2, the Times softballed Hitler and Mussolini right up until it became actual treason to do so. Frankly, the mainstream conservative thought at the time was “fuck Europe” and didn’t really change until the Axis Powers declared war on the U.S. Going back further, the Times reacted to the 1863 draft riots by firing Gatling guns from the roof of the paper’s office building.
So while we all might be shocked and dismayed and while Jamelle Bouie remains one of the most incisive political commentators of the age, this really isn’t out of line with the Times editorial stance. They are America’s Newspaper and America doesn’t have a problem thinking “might means right”. Just goes to show you: don’t take opinion pieces seriously. Yes, even this one.