[May 31, 2020] For citizens of American in denial, for those with their heads up their butts, and for folks on the edge of sanity, the City of Minneapolis is “burning” literally and by large-scale rioting, vandalism, arson and looting, murder, and political opportunism not seen since the 1965 LA Watts or 1968 Chicago race riots or the more recent Baltimore and Ferguson riots. This is a leadership test following the death of George Floyd, a black man, killed by a white police officer, and the city was found wanting. Each of these riots has something in common and at its core the problems stem from a common source. Violence has been on the increase for at least the last decade in Minneapolis, families continue to fail (dramatically), and churches are closing despite politicians and community leaders are working overtime to stop the slow slide into turn-your-head failure. Why? There is no simple answer but here is something we should think about.
The City of Minneapolis is mainly burning for two interrelated reasons. First, it’s not racism, discrimination, crime, unemployment, welfare, or illegal drugs or guns. These are the symptoms of a much deeper cancer. The cause is the reason all the previous riots occurred. Local political, community, and religious leaders are willfully turning their heads from their own personal lack of sufficient courage to tell the truth or adopt responsibility for long-term city-wide social failures. They mostly blame guns, drugs, racism, and out-of-town agitators and promise to make more reforms, spend more tax money, and blame America’s past for “keeping the black man down.” They tell their citizens that “we are with you” and “we have your back.” “We feel your pain,” Bill Clinton once said and that philosophy works for votes.
What they rely upon most is support from each citizen for “this-time-it-will-work” social policies that promise much but deliver (at least historically) little in the way of results. Citizens of Minneapolis (as well as nearby St. Paul and other large cities where the rioting has spread) are directly responsible for supporting political and community leaders and not holding them accountable. We can all attest to the powerless citizen and their frustration, who would have to kiss the ring of local race-hustlers and charlatans before getting a crumb. Subject already to a steady stream of ideological propaganda about how slavery continues today in other forms and how our history explains their predicament, those who live in Minneapolis can hardly be blamed for their beliefs … but I blame them. If locals don’t push back on the same ole’ thing, then nothing will change. Rioting is easy; peace is hard. Violence is the default position that can be changed.
Euphemisms like “peaceful protests” which are designed to make us look the other way, away from the reality of a burning Minneapolis don’t help. The boy mayor, Jacob Frey, is out of his depth, having grown his career in a corrupt, dysfunctional government structure. Building affordable housing, focusing on legalizing marijuana, dehumanizing the police department, lack of coordination with the state, grandiose talk, and him ultimately kowtowing to rioters and looters is pushing his early failures to a more dangerous level. His response to the violence is simply another example of what happens when people vote for an unproven ideology in the place of meritocracy, relevant experience, and honest leadership.