by Reid Fitzsimons
Several months go, when the BLM sentiment was all the rage, progressives climbed over themselves to express their heartfelt commitment to the cause, lest they be discovered as the first one to have stopped applauding. As the hapless president of Smith College ($62,000 per year to attend), Kathleen McCartney, attempted to hop on the bandwagon of compassion and outrage, the poor thing committed quite a faux paux. In her rush to be hip and stand in solidarity with the huddled masses she ejaculated an e-mail declaring, “All Lives Matter.” Much like a malodorous emission of flatulence at a Boston wine tasting, there was brief pause as the proper reaction was considered. This was followed in short order by expressions of hurt and offense so dear to our modern educated youths: “It felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives” one Smith student was quoted as saying; “It minimizes the anti-blackness of this the current situation” opined another. Needless to say Ms. McCartney apologized profusely, sycophantically acknowledging that, “As members of the Smith community we are struggling, and we are hurting.” She promised the soothing tonics of a new Chief Diversity Officer and renewals of social justice commitments. Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of her statement, “All Lives Matter,” was that it came precariously close to sounding like the words of some Pro-Life nut job.
In 2009 our recently departed Attorney General admonished us that, “…in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," and that, "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race." His statements were no more or less true than would be those of an angry establishment feminist advocating for a full discussion about domestic violence, with the unspoken requirement that the only permissible refrain would be that all victims are female, helpless, and totally non-participatory in the cycle. Eric Holder would welcome a true, honest conversation about race about as much anti-capitalist Hollywood celebrity Michel Moore would welcome a frank discussion about his multi-million dollar lake house in Michigan or his $50,000,000 net worth.
Eric Holder’s use of the term “cowards” is worthy of consideration. In general a person does not project that characterization upon others unless they feel confident they could not be described as such. I’ve long suspected that Eric Holder and his political activist brethren regard themselves as courageous, but like most things progressive and post-modern, definitions tend to be quite malleable. To conservatives and tiresome traditionalists, courage implies doing something or standing for something that is noble but, in doing so, clearly has the potential for negative consequences. There is, for example, physical courage, as shown by Col. Shaw and the soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry as they advanced toward likely death at Fort Wagner in 1863. There is also the concept of moral courage, where one’s beliefs are poorly regarded by many yet they are still presented. I don’t know ML King’s biography as well as I should, but I imagine he stood for many years advocating his positions in virtual isolation before he finally stood with the majority.
The progressive, redefined concept of courage is quite a contradiction to what was. People are lauded for bravery when there is no potential for negative consequences whatsoever. A wealthy celebrity goes on a late-night talk show and announces he or she is homosexual. This is greeted with handshakes and hugs; wild cheering erupts from the studio audience and the host congratulates the celebrity for their courage. It’s the darndest thing. Perhaps there was a time, a la George Carlin, when being controversial and on the “edge” took a little spirit, but now public profanity, exhibitionism, grotesque body piercings, etc are so commonplace it’s boring. I fear, however, many Americans, the majority no longer with any reference point, feel obtaining a tattoo is an act of bravery. Most perplexing is this idea, for example, that spending 94 seconds to write in large letters “BLM,” taking a selfie, and broadcasting it to the world implies you’ve done something of greatness. A hypersensitive Smith College student with a very low threshold for outrage probably and truly sees herself on par, in sending out such a Tweet (a term I’ve really come to deplore), with the soldier storming the ramparts at Fort Wagner; the only difference is the soldier is gut shot and dies an agonizing death while she heads off to Starbucks for a latté. It’s almost as if one earns a bizarre kind of progressive credit card points by doing meaningless symbolic things.
But the larger question here, in deference to the pleading by our former Attorney General for more discussion about race, is, do Black Lives Matter? And the answer of course, like all things progressive, is that it is situational, evolvable if you will. To a large extent, unfortunately, black lives, or at least black deaths, can be categorized hierarchically. To put this in a personal perspective I need to first mention that from October 2002 into September 2003 I witnessed the deaths of many black people. So many, in fact, that I cannot recall most of them- to this day I feel an underlying guilt because of this. I will summarize a few that I do remember:
A boy of perhaps 7 or 8 arrived at our clinic literally in last death throes from malaria. After he died I offered to drive his body back to the family compound of huts, as compared to his father having to carry him for several miles. I put him in the back of one of the clinic’s vehicles but there was an engine problem and I couldn’t make it up a hill. At each attempt the body rolled pitifully around in the cargo area.
A little girl of perhaps 4 or 5 came to our clinic symptomatic of rabies, from which there is no return. I remember her moaning and making utterances, which in a morbidly fascinating way included comprehensible English; her father constantly wiped drool from her mouth during the few hours before she died.
A pregnant woman arrived after hours with a malaria related impending miscarriage. The expelled baby, probably about five months gestation, was a perfectly formed little girl. Being a heartless conservative I couldn’t bring myself to throw her in the proper progressive place for dead pre-term babies (correction, fetuses), the pit filled with used needles and AIDS related pus, so instead I buried her in a little grave.
I remember a sickly little boy of two, brought in by his grandmother, as his parents were both dead. Needless to say he had AIDS. We had a small supply of stuffed animals and when I gave him one he embraced it with a life vigor that he would soon loose, and he even looked happy. This image, the little dying boy hugging the stuffed animal, knowing the suffering he would soon face, haunts me more than any other, and there were many such images from which to choose.
Not to sound melodramatic, but each of these black lives mattered a great deal to me, but I don’t know what it all meant, if anything. However, that was Africa; let’s return to the land of smart phones, big screen TVs, easy outrage, and perpetual victimization.
In reality there is a kind of caste system among progressives when considering black lives. The lowest is yet to be born black babies, who matter to progressives to the extent they can rack up their abortion numbers and profits. 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, 3rd trimester, hell, even a few after being born, someone declared them to be unwanted hence they deserve to be terminated and tossed into the pit with the used needles and pus. This obsessive yearning for aborting black babies is not limited to white progressives but embraced by all mainstream, so to speak, black leaders, so to speak. Not a word of opposition, or even discomfort, will ever emanate from the mouths of the Reverends Jesse and Al, Barak or Michelle Obama, Eric Holder or any other of the other black celebrities who dance to the progressive tune and sanctimoniously carry the BLM message. The disdain in which the great civil rights leaders of today hold black fetuses is matched only by the contempt they hold for black conservatives.
I try not to be beholden to statistics but in a grander scheme they can help put things in perspective. To understand the next level in the BLM caste system a few numbers are in order. Between 1882 and 1951 approximately 3,437 black people were killed by lynching. I would add the modifier brutally but that is implied. In recent years roughly 8,000 black people were murdered annually in the US, and about 90% of the perpetrators were also black (something around 82-83% of white murder victims are killed by white people). In other words, in the average year twice as many black people are killed by other black people as were killed by lynching in the 69 years those statistics covered. So, does the life of a black murder victim matter to a progressive if they were murdered by a black person? Sadly, the answer is no.
The problem is compatibility with the paradigm. It’s not as if the BLM celebrities cheer the destruction of black lives, at least those who were allowed to be born, but rather the issue is the manner in which they died, not how they lived. A black person murdered by a fellow black person is mostly an embarrassment, kind of like the gonorrhea you picked up in college: it wasn’t a huge deal but you’d rather not talk about it in front of your spouse.
To the progressive leaders and wannabes black lives have a use in regards to riling up a crowd or keeping them in power, but the penultimate use of a black life is found in their death, as long as it can be tied in with either a white person or anyone associated with the Man. Feigned outrage is the lifeblood of American political and cultural satisfaction and nothing produces ecstasy like a Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. Sure Trayvon Martin probably did beat the crap out of Zimmerman and Michael Brown never actually put his hands up and pleaded for the cop not to shoot, but that is beside the point: progressives pick the facts, or disregard them, as required in the crafting of their narrative. In life Martin probably was just your typical teenager, acting like a badass gangster in front of his peers but otherwise perfectly polite in front of his elders. I fear Brown, in life, would evoke less sympathy: strong-arm robbery is an act of very personal violence and is not consistent with a person possessing inner kindness. Regardless, their ascendancy to the highest caste, their matterablity, to coin a new word, came into existence only in that moment the bullet struck its fatal destination, and that is the true outrage.
Now for the Progressive BLM Quiz:
Below are four photos pulled from the Internet but consistent with this topic. Of the four, which one is the only one that contains the image of a black life that would matter to the Obamas’, the Reverends Jesse & Al, & progressives in general?
Photo number 1 shows an aborted black baby who was essentially burned to death using a hypertonic salt solution, a saline abortion (burn baby burn, to use the term from the 1960s Black Panther progressive movement)
Photo number 2 shows a young female murder victim from the St. Louis area, gunned down by an unknown black male
In photo number 3 there is a young child from Africa being placed in a wicker casket after dying from malaria
Photo number 4 shows Michael Brown committing a strong-arm robbery of a person-of-color shortly before he was shot and killed by a white policeman after not putting his hands up and saying, “Don’t Shoot.”
If you choose photo number 4, you are correct, unfortunately.