America is on the verge of racial, political, social and economic unrest that could make the 1960s and even the 1930s look like a dress rehearsal.
We need national leadership but all we're getting is street theater, like Trump ordering the U.S. military to teargas and flash bomb American citizens so that he can hold up a bible for his credulous base.
What we need is national leadership, not photo ops to get ahead of the coming rent riots, with tens of thousands of hard-pressed renters threatened with mass evictions from coast to coast because they can't work or make enough payments during unpredictable pandemic closures.
We need ambitious New Deal leadership to help the forty million left unemployed by the shutdown find work, but Republicans have balked at any new programs to alleviate their plight and Trump is insanely taking victory laps as though the issue was somehow resolved (it is not).
What does the Senate think will happen when the same multitudes - over two and a half times the number of the Great Depression - discover that they've been entirely abandoned by the people they voted for to protect them?
Meanwhile, racism in America isn't getting worse, it's just getting filmed. The words are Will Smith's from 2016 but if anything, his observation has only become more relevant as our camera technology and access improves.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007 he called it a revolutionary product. Well, it looks like the revolution is finally here.
The iPhone brought us Twitter which in turn elevated the man that some now derisively call Twitler, Donald Trump. Since its arrival, the iPhone has recorded the worst of us and the best of us, bringing us all into much sharper focus, more than at any time in human history.
"The US Constitution is clear: you simply do not shoot journalists covering civil protests. It is fundamentally un-American." https://t.co/9bE2wOlZCZ— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) June 15, 2020
So anyone who hopes that the country is about to settle down soon and return to the lost Eden that we all left behind in mid-March is in for a very rude awakening. The coronavirus has ripped the mask off every systemic inequality - unequal health care, unequal access, unequal employment cuts, unequal access to shelter, and systemic racism - and the iPhone is holding the camera up to them all.
The coronavirus hasn't gone away, systemic racism hasn't gone away, Trump's desire to hammer his critics hasn't gone away (on the contrary in fact), and the anti-gay animus of the conservative establishment reveals its hidden hand in its endless attempts to blight the lives of the LGBT community here.
So this is going to be a long summer and possibly one of the hottest ones that we have ever seen. How do I know this?
Because progressives are saying no to US troops being ordered onto our streets to curtail our First Amendment rights, black Americans are done being summarily executed without trial by the nation's trigger-happy police, and the LGBT community is done having their dignity and personhood assaulted by the religious right. Something is going to give.
BREAKING: more than half a dozen law enforcement officials are now confirming what we knew to be true: the force used against peaceful protestors in Lafayette park was for the photo op and not pre-planned as Barr and Trump claim. https://t.co/W5zzBUZuuq— Mueller, She Wrote Podcast (@MuellerSheWrote) June 14, 2020
The multitudes can't even line up behind Trump at his red hat campaign rallies without now signing a health waiver and promising not to sue him, nor have they shown much interest in his yesterday's man campaign to maintain Confederate symbols in public squares and on the military bases across the United States.
Of all the things that Trump could have thrown his considerable weight behind in the last three and a half months, he chose the Confederacy? Well, now that he has finally revealed his hand the American public is doing likewise.
Meanwhile, it's the iPhone that is changing the game for us all. It's recording shocking police abuses, it's unmasking white racists who seem to consider the police their personal security service, it's showing us the daily tirades and threatening behavior that people of color are subjected to across this nation by white men and white women and it has finally done the thing that no technology before ever has – it's forced most white people here to finally confront this truth.
This is the #AllBlackLivesMatter protest today in LA. Just incredible.June 14, 2020
For most white people, not for all, of course. Privilege is when you think something isn't a problem because it's not a problem for you. What do those privileged people think when the see the nation in such tumult? That they play no part in it themselves?
The news media hasn't been covering the protests this week, but they are just as large, and in fact, they're growing. Putting your fingers in your ears and pretending it'll all blow over is the dumbest thing you could do now. It's more likely to blow up than blow over.
There are upward of forty million unemployed, the systemic racism that has blighted lives here for centuries is exposed and unmasked, the LGBT community is unwilling to have their human rights removed again to placate a religious right who hates them, the coronavirus is raging in states that opened up too early or never took precautions at all, 113,000 Americans have died, more than all the American casualties in the First World War.
If you don't think that's a powder keg, you're not paying attention.