A Good Start

We can breathe now.

By Anatole d’Ecotopia

Photo by Munshots

The successful conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is no vindication of the system that created Derek Chauvin… it is merely an indication that the system is still capable of meeting the entry-level standards of applying justice.

The unsuccessful attempt by House Republican right-wing extremists to censure Representative Maxine Waters for her pre-verdict remarks on Chauvin’s trial only serves to underscore the pervasiveness of the cultural issues underlying the system’s flaws. It also serves to demonstrate how profoundly detached from reality the Republican Party has become. 

“Space Laser Lady” Marjorie Taylor Greene went so far as to suggest Madame Water’s remarks were responsible for the all-counts guilty verdict in Chauvin’s trial. How this was even possible, given that the jury was already sequestered by the time of Water’s comments, remains inexplicable… except as a demonstration of sympathetic magic. But in Madame Greene’s case, magical thinking remains par for the course.

On the adult side of the political aisle, the news is somewhat more encouraging. Both President Biden and Vice President Harris have been unflinchingly clear on the moral necessity of this verdict and the need for systemic change. Attorney General Garland Merrick has announced a full Department of Justice investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department’s tactics, training, and use of force. The Department of Justice has also served notice to the notoriously racist Portland Oregon Police Bureau that there will be an inquiry into excessive use of force on their part. Hopefully, similar inquiries are forthcoming in other cities where protests are automatically treated as “unlawful assemblies” and indiscriminately tear-gassed

But it would be foolish, despite the GOP’s increasingly evident love of authoritarianism, to consider the extensive failings of the American police establishment as a partisan issue. Portland Mayor / Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler (yes, he gets to be both) is a staunch Democrat. Chauvin Trial Judge Peter Cahill, who saw fit as to declare Maxine Water’s comments as potential grounds for a mistrial, is a former deputy to Democratic Senator (and one-time presidential hopeful) Amy Klobuchar. Both parties ultimately look to global corporate capitalism for a paycheck. The corporate elites are as dependent now on efficiently brutal police forces as plantation owners once were upon slave patrols… to ensure that their human “capital” doesn’t get any bright ideas about having actual human rights.

The only difference is that the Democratic Party has an added dependency on a political coalition that represents the full diversity of 21st century America — and is very much inclusive of the black Americans who are indisputably and disportionately the victims of the American police establishment. The only way to ensure that this coalition retains more of the party’s ear than the 21st century corporate slaveholders… is if they continue to make themselves heard.

And that is why comparisons between Maxine Waters urging protesters to remain resolute and a former president’s incitement of insurrection are not only absurd, but contemptible. The possible outcome Waters warned against, an acquittal of Derek Chauvin, did not occur. But there are more trials to come, more opportunities for members of the police establishment to be exonerated of being front-line agents of a corrupt and racist institution that all too often resorts all too easily to the use of lethal force… against certain people.

Madame Waters is absolutely correct. Her critics and detractors are absolutely, fundamentally… wrong. Only if Maxine Waters and the protest movement continue to be heard will this “good start” continue in the right direction.

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