The “peaceful” protests and the future of America.

Over the past few weeks, protests have escalated into violence in several American cities. The protesters and their protests, we are told, are peaceful. We are cautioned by local officials not to overreact to the scattered and inconsequential violence. When they are referring to the violence, they are not talking about vandalism and looting. This is a part of the “peaceful” side.

As we watch (and how can we avoid watching?), we see windows broken, property destroyed and theft in the form of looting all over. Some of us are again shocked by these actions.

The first time we witnessed anything surprising was at the onset of COVID-19 when our neighbors began to hoard toilet paper and several other grocery items. This was all, of course, legal, but nonetheless how many were taken aback by the window it provided into the character of those we live around?

Now we’ve seen unprovoked attacks on the homeless, the elderly, and on unsuspecting pedestrians. Some attacks are so violent that they can’t help but evoke powerful feelings within those of us who are still in possession of our sense of fairness and respect for law and order.

Where will all of this lead?

Surely, most conscientious young people aren’t going to regard the local government responses to the uprisings as demanding respect. One would not be led to assume they would be drawn to contemplate a career as a police officer.

Now police officers will nonetheless be hired, albeit from a much less qualified pool of applicants. Some cities have already entertained the idea of allowing convicted felons to become cops. This bodes ill for urban areas for the foreseeable future.

Another fact of the past few weeks that is gradually being realized by the vast majority who are passive onlookers, is that those responsible for the violence live and mix among us. They are not unlike terrorist sleeper cells. Instead of having targets and defined timetables, these thugs take advantage of any situation and are willing to destroy virtually anything and harm anyone who looks vulnerable.

When we turn on the evening news programs, are we gazing into our future? Are the antics, currently confined to a few densely populated cities going to spread? Currently there seems to be no substantial opposition, let alone resistance, to the law breaking.

Though this may be surprising to some, it should not be. Only a few elected officials have spoken out against the uprising and these voices get very little press. Over the past several years, rigorous debate has disappeared. Protesters have shut down unwelcome speakers on college campuses and opinion shaming has arisen everywhere. This paved the way for the conspicuous silence of several notables whom we would have expected to hear from denouncing the current set of events.

Only time will tell, of course, but the stakes are higher than this cliche. And right now, the long term betting odds are on the protesters.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

– George Orwell (1903-1950)

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