I was kinda disappointed when I went away to college that I missed out on the Peoples’ Park riots. College was a small art school in Oakland adjoining Berkeley. Peoples’ Park was a vacant lot full of trash owned by the university and acquired through eminent domain (they stole it). Locals cleaned it up, removing derelict cars and demolition debris, planting flowers, trees and shrubs, and installing playground equipment. They claimed it as their own.
The university thought otherwise. After the lot was improved, the university wanted to make a parking lot out of it. They erected a fence and eventually “the people” moved to take back the park. Law enforcement used tear gas, pepper gas, and buckshot to “control” the crowds. Why in the world I was disappointed to miss out, I have no idea.
I did participate in other demonstrations. I was among 400,000 people who marched up Market Street in San Francisco. When we arrived, the sidewalks were overflowing and an elderly lady was crowded off into the street. An Alameda County deputy sprang into action beating the woman with a nightstick and screaming, “Get back on the sidewalk.” Nobody had a cell phone camera so we grabbed her and got her to safety. Soon the police were overwhelmed; the entire street was filled storefront to storefront for miles.
I never encountered the violence like at Peoples’ Park and I never witnessed a protester calling a serviceman, “baby killer.” In fact a huge number of protesters were Vietnam Vets. They had seen it, unlike most of the hawks of today.
While living in Oakland I witnessed a huge societal change. Oakland was a working class town. It was predominately white before I lived there. There were good industrial jobs to be had and that attracted an influx of black folks looking for stable work and a place to raise a family. Being from Southern California, I found it uplifting to see well-maintained neighborhoods housing workers for the local factories.
I lived two blocks from the high school where the founder of the Black Panther Party attended. While the families found things to be better in Oakland, that showed there was always room for improvement. The Panthers conducted free breakfasts and pre and after school programs. People appreciated their help.
But along with that help came indoctrination. The room for improvement came with roadblocks. Quite truthfully, one of those roadblocks was skin color. The Panthers claimed overcoming those roadblocks could only be achieved through Soviet style revolution. The children were being stolen from their parents.
The U.S. government has taken on the same role that the Panthers assumed. Bullying and destroying, and toppling rulers around the world has become accepted as our role in a beneficent and self-righteous crusade.
What we see in cities where criminals overwhelm peaceful protesters shows that they have learned well from their own government. The cops that murdered George Floyd, the looters, and the vandals are a microcosm of their own government. The enabling element in all these tragedies is the adoption of identity politics as a legitimate way of thinking.
In order to discuss any news, it has to be simplified to conserve time. What is lost in doing so is the truth that we are all individuals.
I’m waiting to see who gets fired for keeping Derek Chauvin on the Minneapolis Police Department after multiple complaints. I’m waiting to see the vandals and looters arrested and jailed. I’m waiting to see governors order protesters and rioters to be kept six feet apart. I’m waiting to see the U.S. government resume “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none,” as George Washington wrote in his Farewell Address.