Friday, June 05, 2020

The American Story Has Collided Head-On With American Reality


caitlinjohnstone |  If you’ve heard the waking up story, you would expect no such thing. You would understand that racial disparities never left the nation in question, and that the establishment which still keeps J Edgar Hoover’s name on the FBI building has no intention of doing anything about the police force’s role in it. You would understand that the role of the police is not to protect and serve the people but to protect and serve the empire, in the exact same way that this is the role of the military. You would understand that the empire is no more likely to voluntarily dispense with the violent tactics of its increasingly militarized police force than it is to dispense with its air force or nuclear warheads.

They’ll supply all the empty words and take-a-knee photo ops you like, but actually voluntarily disarming themselves against their subjects is not something they’re planning on doing.
This does not mean that those demanding these changes are being silly or unreasonable; demanding that the police not murder you is the most sane and reasonable thing in the world, per what the police force purports to be and per what America purports to be. It’s just that neither the police force nor America are what they purport to be. The bedtime story and the waking up story could not possibly be more different.

That is what we are witnessing here. We are witnessing the head-on collision between the story America’s political, media and educational institutions tell Americans about what their country is, and the reality of what their country actually is. The disparity between the bedtime story and the waking up story has finally been stretched to a breaking point, and now the mask of free liberal democracy is coming off in front of everyone.

We are watching a population besieged by institutional racism, economic hardship and a pandemic virus finally pushed past the breaking point, and finding themselves crashing headlong into the most unyielding part of a planet-sprawling empire. The stories are slowly clearing from the air like tear gas, and the cold, hard reality is becoming exposed to a greater and greater segment of mainstream America.

And now the leader of this nation is openly threatening martial law and trying to designate black bloc protesters as “terrorists”. Video footage of police brutality is saturating social media faster than people can watch it, First Amendment violations are sweeping from coast to coast as police chiefs, mayors and governors try to see how far they down can squeeze freedom of assembly laws, and mysterious armed men in fatigues who refuse to say who they’re with are patrolling the nation’s capital. Prison riot specialists are being recruited as expert consultants because, in the eyes of the empire, the prisoners are rioting.

We are all watching from around the world as the citizens of the hub of the empire confront their oppressors in an increasingly violent battle of wills. The violence rips apart the thin veneer of narrative that was keeping the bedtime story intact all this time. We all watch as the tattered ribbons slowly fall to the floor.