"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, June 12, 2020

Exactly What I'm Worried About

Then again, can you ever use the "system" to fundamentally change the "system"?

But it is not clear how much will happen after officials point out the deep-rooted flaw in the system, and some progressive Democrats and activists are saying they’re worried that politicians are using the language of systemic reform but stopping short of the more radical policies to address it, such as redirecting funding from law enforcement to housing and education.

Been there, done that.  It's still a good idea, but it won't change the "system."  And here's the irony:

The proposed solutions in many cases go further than mainstream politicians have ever gone. But, set against how dire the politicians say the situation is, the suggested fixes feel to some activists like relics of a bygone era, proposals that could reduce harm, but fail to deliver structural change.

A little vague on what solutions are concretely meant here, but LBJ did all of this (public housing, education funding).  Is that a "relic[] of a bygone era...that could reduce harm[] but fail to deliver structural change"?

Then what solutions would, asidde from "redirecting housing and education"?

For younger progressive leaders, and some of the mourners at Mr. Floyd’s memorial services, this range of potential solutions amounts to a tacit reaffirmation to work within the system they have described as fundamentally broken.

"You say you want a revolution?  Well, you know, we all want to change the world..."

If the system is fundamentally broken, what do you replace it with?  How do you fix it?  What system to you replace it with?  Donald Trump made fundamentally the same argument with "Drain the swamp!"  Where did that get us?

That campaign, called 8 to Abolition, emphasized prison abolition, ridding police departments of military-grade equipment, and diverting funds to safe housing.

Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the progressive who represents part of Minneapolis, said some of the calls to action from the Democratic caucus were not enough.

“If we are not clear in proposing policies that undo the policies that have codified our pain and trauma, then we will be in the same state,” she said.

I'm radical enough to go with abolishing prisons.  I have been for almost two decades now.  But "proposing policies that undo the policies that have codified our pain and trauma"?  What does that look like?  I'm all for it, but what do you propose?

Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House minority leader and candidate for governor who is also in the running to be Mr. Biden’s vice-presidential pick, said in a recent interview that the willingness for more Democrats to call out systemic racism should be applauded. There was value in identifying systems of oppression, she said, even though it must be coupled with actions.

“If we want to dismantle an injustice system that does not see the humanity of these men and women, then we have to not only articulate what the broken pieces are, but we’ve got to then hire the right people to fix and make it better,” she said. “And that happens through voting.”

Ah, so we hire non-racist cops!  Good luck with that.

“They snatched me up and grabbed me by my arm quite forcefully. Snatched me up and turned me around and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’” said Brown. He said that the officers then drove him to the outskirts of the city and told him “‘Do not come back to Santa Monica or we will arrest you.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, I live in Santa Monica.’ ‘If you come back you will be arrested.’ ‘But it’s where I live!’

Mr. Brown was part of a peaceful protest.  The police spent all that time with him rather than go after the harder, more dangerous target, of the looters a few blocks away.  Will education and "the right people" fix that?

The original news release from the Minneapolis Police Department on Mr. Floyd’s death described the actions of the officers, like this:

The officers “were able to get the suspect in to handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”

No mention of the knee on his neck. No mention of his cries for help.

We can change that.  But can we really expect to change anything else?  If we can, how?

“You have to acknowledge it, but you have to also break the system down in order to restore order and confidence,” Mr. Washington said.

The Niebuhrian realist in me says:  "Yeah, that'll happen."  The hardest task is to face your own responsibility.  That's part of the reason why young people are so righteous, and so activist.  They haven't had to be responsible yet.

Tough times ahead.  Outlook not so good, but better than it was.


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