CHAPTER 1 - "ALL LIVES MATTER"
I’ll admit it, a few years ago, the thought did cross my mind, “why is saying ‘all lives matter’ bad?” - If you are talking about all people being as important as each other in the context of how we should love each other equally regardless of our differences, then surely it can’t be a bad thing?
However, I now think I understand why. I was looking at it from the wrong angle. Nobody is saying all lives don’t matter, and I don’t think I have seen it put in a much more straightforward manner than in this simple cartoon:
In fact, I now use this very analogy to try and explain to some other people who had not yet fully understood why for the good of the whole of humanity, we need to be focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement at present. Because while so many people are still being treated so unjustly, we can not hope for a more peaceful, fair, equal society for everyone.
Sure, there are some people who are doing just fine the way things are now, and often they are the ones condemning protests and accusing the BLM movement of “reverse racism” or some other nonsense. We need to understand that just because we do not experience a problem personally, it doesn't mean that the problem doesn’t exist. That’s what people mean by white privilege. When a load of white people then come out and start trying to explain why it isn’t real, all they are doing is proving themselves somewhat disconnected from reality.
I like the cartoon above because it gently helps people to make sense of the statement and open their eyes without and I the need for arguments, name calling, or patronising. There are other memes online which attempt to explain the same point in a more aggressive way but as we are clearly seeing now. More aggression is not the answer.
We must find a way to engage in constructive dialogue in order to find solutions and to have a healthy political debate with those we don’t necessarily agree with without resorting to insults. In fact, to do this erodes the very trust that the political system is built upon. It is no coincidence that the world is currently more polarised than ever. For the last two elections in the UK and USA at least, the debate has consisted of little more than lies, name calling, meaningless sound bites, and dodging questions. How do we expect the public to have reasonable conversations when our elected officials set such a terrible example?
It isn’t nice seeing how polarised people are at the moment, but we must remember that the vast majority of people are essentially good people and just want the best for their loved ones. Somehow though, we have found ourselves in a position where we have let too many bad people gain too much power within our society.
No longer can we claim that incidents like the murder of George Floyd and countless black men and women before him are the result of one or two bad apples slipping through the net. The rot from the bad apples has infected the net itself.
CHAPTER 2 - CHAUVINISM
Take Derek Chauvin, the aptly named thug, or “Training Officer” who murdered George Floyd only two weeks ago. He had 18 complaints filed against him in his time in the force, 7 of which are logged in a database documenting police brutality. The fact that he still had a job points to some concerning issues within the wider police department.
Why was he allowed to behave like this so many times and still keep his badge & his gun? If the department he worked in was actually trying to root out racism, would an officer like this have kept his job and been training younger officers? One of whom was only on his 4th shift when George Floyd was murdered.
I am not suggesting that all cops are bad at all. I actually believe that the vast majority of people become police officers because they want to help people. But the Derek Chauvins of past & present have not acted alone. It takes more than a handful of people to create a culture which allows these outrages to occur in the first place. All of the people that helped violent police to escape justice in the past have contributed. Even good cops could easily be turned bad by the current environment fostered by many police departments. Just look up the “warrior” training that some police in the states are put through. Actual madness.
So, when people say all lives can’t matter until black lives matter, I agree with them. It is the same corrupt individuals and groups that control the system who are preventing it from changing. Unfortunately, money now buys power. Decency is not enough to get someone elected; in fact, it goes against you in the modern political system in which money and economy are more important than people and planet. Check out this article about Jeremy Corbyn's political assassination.
America had its first black president in power for eight years. and even he couldn’t fix the problem. That is how deep it runs, to truly understand it you have to study some history and watch some films like 13th (Netflix), LA92, Fahrenheit 11/9 and others on the list of resources below.
Unfortunately, immediately after Obama, a complete nut job by any sane persons’ standards managed to get into power by accident as part of a publicity stunt. How does someone so dangerously narcissistic and void of any morals become president of the most powerful country in the world? It happens when people become disillusioned with politics. Then, when someone like Trump comes along who stirs up strong emotions in some groups of people and legitimises certain behaviours, his supporters become passionate and make more noise than the rest of the public, who don’t trust any politicians. In this case many also took it as a joke and did not realise the seriousness of the threat. Much like the German people in the 1930’s… until it was too late.
What does that guy have in common with Trump & Derek Chauvin (apart from being white men)? Chauvinism. Oh, how ironic. Here’s another definition of the word:
Believing or showing an unreasonable belief that your own country or race is the best or most important:
The crowd was enthusiastically singing chauvinistic patriotic songs.
CHAPTER 3 - GET INTERESTED
Chauvinism, patriotism, nationalism, there's not a huge difference between them, and all racism is born from the belief that one race is somehow different or superior to another. If political parties use fiercely patriotic ads and racism as a tool to get elected then they are a part of the problem.
The majority of US citizens do not support Trump. But he got into power because money does buy votes. When social media allows the opinions of the public to be manipulated so cleverly, educating ourselves is more important than ever before. Do not let yourself be distracted and manipulated by people who don’t care about you. Read into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, watch films about it and others like “Brexit, an uncivil war” about the tactics used in the most recent elections/referendums. There are Ted talks and articles online from many credible sources. Here’s a short one from a sensible sounding journalist: Facebook's Role In Brexit - and the threat to democracy
The good news is that we, the people, have the real power. We just need to read more and realise that change is possible. Would Chauvin and the other officers have been properly disciplined and charged with a crime if people had not protested? Or would they have walked away free like the officers who brutally beat Rodney King in 1991, or the hundreds of other officers who have killed unarmed black people and escaped justice? Check out these articles:
We have the power to vote out dishonest politicians, to call out injustice, to boycott the products and services of companies who do not act in accordance with our principles and to put pressure on governments to act to protect lives. We just have to realise who really represents our best interests. Fortunately, there are lots of websites out there that cut through the bullshit and show you the facts that media & politicians won't. Here’s one that shows the voting history of all UK MPs online for all to see: www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/ - just look up your local politician and see if they vote for the laws that you would want. If they don’t then vote for someone else. It’s that simple. Don’t just do what you are told by the media.
People who benefit from maintaining the status quo will tell you that protests never achieve anything but what was the civil rights movement and indeed the United States itself founded on if not civil disobedience in protest to oppression? Of course, violence is NEVER the answer, Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent resistance movement eventually achieved its goal of independence for India and inspired civil rights movements around the world, including Dr Martin Luther King who advanced the civil rights movement by promoting non-violence and civil disobedience.
Some media outlets may post coverage of the violent parts of the protests in order to make it look like the protesters are all violent and only out to cause destruction and loot stores. This is not the case; the vast majority of people out there care deeply about the cause and are law abiding citizens.
Meanwhile, the elected leader is hiding in the Whitehouse bunker stirring up more divide and hatred, basically doing the opposite of what any responsible leader would do. As if going for a gold medal in the irony Olympics, he is also campaigning for the 2020 election with the slogan “Keep America Great”, you actually couldn’t make this shit up.
We need to educate ourselves about what politics is really about and who our politicians really serve. Stop sharing and commenting on articles without reading them properly and fact checking. This just feeds the click baiters and is a twatty thing to do. We need to educate ourselves about the problems within our system which make the murder of innocent black men by the police possible and even normal in the first place (resources below). And we need to do what we can to elect just politicians and put pressure on others to help us move towards a better, more equal society which would benefit all of us.
Many of the people who enable and uphold a corrupt system with racism embedded into and promote vast levels of economic inequality are the same people that do deals with unethical corporations and mislead the public in order to keep their hands on power. They cover up lies, and they sell off state assets to private businesses at your expense. They use taxpayer money in illegal expenses scandals, and they lie and cover up for their friends in high places.
Educate yourself and then get out and vote. We might not cope with another 4 years of Trump and others like him.
CHAPTER 4 – WHAT ELSE?
As Elon Musk told Joe Rogan in their famous podcast, “Love is the answer”, we must choose love over hate, unity over division. We must educate ourselves and stand up against oppression. This might be through petitions, voting, or standing up to racism/injustice if we witness it in person. By writing to politicians, police departments, journalists to highlight practices of racial or other abuse.
Use social media to spread the truth. Too many people and organisations are using it to spread misinformation and stir up hate. Do not let them. Fact check things you see online and use the platforms at your disposal to shed light on the lies which help to cover up injustice. These platforms can be used for good or for evil; it’s up to us to cut through the bullshit and separate truth from lies. Only then we will be able to make the right choices. Again, don’t share stupid shit without reading and fact checking it properly first, cos that will make you look like a twat.
For god’s sake, BE NICE!! No one ever convinced someone to agree with them by calling them names and being a prick. It is very hard to be nice and understanding in the face of ignorance and anger but try and remember that everyone is a product of their environment to some extent. People think what they do because of their personal experiences, and the first step of getting someone to listen to you is first to gain their trust. This is never achieved by aggression. Constructive and respectful conversation is the key to understanding. LISTEN.
Travel. If you are one of the few people on the planet blessed with the opportunity to explore new states, cities, countries, and continents then go for it. As Bruce Poontip (founder of G Adventures) puts it in his new “insta book” ‘Unlearn’ “There’s no faster path to peace than people getting to know other cultures and the way other people live in this world.”
Again, GET INTERESTED in politics. Whether you like it or not, it affects you massively! And when a generation of people become disinterested, we end up with Trumps, Johnsons and Brexit. We end up with an unfair system. Because when money can buy votes and therefore power, the people with the money can rewrite the rules in their favour to make sure they keep all the money. That is currently how it works. Rich, white men, have established and maintained control of the system by rigging it in their favour. Ask yourself why banks like Goldman Sachs or defence companies like Lockheed Martin would donate to political campaigns?? I’ll give you a clue. It certainly ain’t for your benefit (unless you happen to own shares in these companies).
They donate money to politicians in exchange for private contracts, tax breaks and other economic benefits which is basically a legal form of bribery. Because they set the rules. To compound the problem, even more, the same people who control the big money that pours into campaign funds and government lobby groups, also control the majority of the world's media. You are distracted by irrelevant stuff and made to feel angry with the people who you should be working together with to understand and change the system. (Just watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez break it down simply and gracefully.)
The human race is clearly at a crucial point in history, where we could go either way. We can work towards a truly progressive future where education, technology and compassion are combined to make a world in which communities, people and the planet are prioritised over profit and power. A world where everyone is truly treated equally as human beings and have equal access to food, shelter, education, loving homes and all the other things that so many of us are lucky enough to take for granted. Or we can continue to let a few bad people divide us and ruin the planet for profits.
Hence the title of this now rather lengthy blog. The world is a beautiful place full of wonderful people, nature, and animals of endless variety. We must learn to love and protect the things that really matter to the future of humanity. If we continue to stand by and watch as the assholes of the world continue to rig the tables in their favour then we will walk blindly into a future where our freedoms are gradually eroded, and the planet is gradually destroyed by the system that is supposed to protect us.
So there it is. Paradise or oblivion? Love or Hate? Education or ignorance? Choose now before it’s too late. I will leave you with the words of two very different but very great men.
“This shit has got to stop.”
- Jacques Fresco