What the Fuck is Happening?
I sat down to write a blog post, to get some degree of order out — at least in my head — as to what the fuck is going on, and honestly, I got no idea. I got no idea, and I think anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.
What the fuck is happening?
What are people angry about? Yes, George Floyd dying, but not just George Floyd dying. Like, black people dying, old people dying, working class people dying, health care workers dying — sick people dying.
A lot of people are dying right now.
And, a lot of people don’t care.
The most infuriating thing, to me, about the George Floyd video, was that the police officer kneeling on him didn’t seem to care. He didn’t even look angry; he looked indifferent. How offensive is that? Someone died, because a police officer couldn’t be bothered to see his humanity.
It takes about three minutes without air to die. After George Floyd stopped moving, the police officer kept his knee on his neck for over three minutes; it was those three minutes that probably killed him. If the officer had bothered to check his pulse after he became non-responsive, George Floyd probably would have lived. But, he couldn’t be bothered. He just didn’t care.
And, it is this complete indifference to life which seems to fucking ubiquitous right now.
We’re getting this creeping sense that our government is turning against its own population, that it doesn’t care if we live or die as long as those in charge can maintain their power. Old people are told to die for the economy, states try to ban abortion, some without making exemptions for the life of the mother. Capitalism has forced millions of people out of health insurance because an epidemic is happening. And, of course, people — especially people of color — keep getting killed by the police.
Controlling us has become more important than protecting us. And, while we all feel it in different ways, we all feel it.
We all feel that our lives don’t matter. Some of us are in higher risk situations than others of us, but none of us matter like capitalism matters. None of us matter like money matters, like rich people’s pensions matter.
We are in a system where the wealth of a few is protected at the cost of the wellbeing of the many. This is what the police are for by the way; the police are primarily here, to make sure people don’t steal other people’s shit. The police are about property and protecting property. And, that’s the ostensible reason they killed George Floyd; supposedly, he had tried to use a forged $20. The police killed George Floyd over $20.
And, we all have our price, don’t we? The price that we know the government would kill us for, and we all know it’s not high. That’s why we’re all jealously guarding our own shit, because we know that all those rich fucks and government agents would rather watch us die than lose money saving us. So, we need our own money. Our own stash, because we live in a society that places $20 above the life of a human. And, when we see how the government treats people who don’t have a money stash, we see how little all human life is worth. And, it’s fucking chilling.
I don’t have a deep understanding of how race interacts with this, except to see that it makes it worse. That, even on top of money, you have less protection for your life if you are black — but I don’t really understand why, and I don’t have a deep understanding of the psychological impact of this. I imagine that it involves living in constant fear and vigilance, and possibly things like PTSD, but I don’t know.
I do see though, why white people are resistant to witnessing this. If we’re privileged, some part of us will probably to reassure ourselves that that couldn’t happen to me. The police kill black people, or poor people, or men, but they won’t kill me. And yet… on some level we still feel how worthless human life is now, how worthless our own lives are. So we try to push that away. Maybe that fear brings out own racism, as we try to assure ourselves why our lives really do matter while justifying why other people’s don’t. When white people see that black lives aren’t valuable, if we want to continue believe our lives are valuable, we need to come up with a reason to justify this discrepancy — and that reason will have to be racist. But, the truth is, none of our lives matter — not to “the system” anyway — not even Jeff Bezos’ life matters to the system. His money matters, and he can use that to protect his life, but his life? Worthless.
However, people have to act like his life matters to his face if they want access to his money. If his money evaporated, however? So would his life’s value.
We have fetishized capital to such a point that it has become our one driving value, but this isn’t human. This isn’t who we want to be, not really.
And, you can only live so long with such a perversion of humanity before a correction happens. As long as some people need to die so others can be rich, riot will live below the surface. Honestly, part of me is surprised to see it. Some part of me thought the US was so anesthetized and dissociated that they wouldn’t react. Some part of me thought riots couldn’t happen anymore.
But I guess they can.
So, what happens next? I have no fucking idea.