not go into brain-freeze or a national seizure at the pace of militarized police killings, racial/religious/you-name-it hatred, and the racialized rightward whirlpool of the GOP's appeal to fearful whites.
In the latest of a spate of fatal shootings, officers of the infamous Los Angeles Police Department raced to touristy Hollywood Boulevard, where they fired 10 rounds to terminate a reportedly homeless man carrying a Swiss army pocket knife. Yes, a pocket knife. Guardian story here. Police pic of the palm-sized weapon here. The victim was white, by the way.
In Kansas City, a 15-year-old Somali Muslim was run down and killed outside a mosque by an SUV driven by a Somali Christian known to have threatened Muslims with violence.
In the much-anticipated runoff U.S. senate election in Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu fell to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy. Like many Dems in this midterm, in her race she fled the causes embraced by her base (at the 11th hour she sang the praises of the Keystone Pipeline and its claimed monetary payoff for Louisiana) only to prove, once again, that a weak-kneed Democrat commands increasingly little electoral appeal against an unapologetic Republican rightie. Much of the American South, thanks to white-powered districts, is now in the hands of a GOP that is laying its last big demographic bet – in an increasingly brown country – on the fears of petrified whites.
In other words, the headlines we read are racing into a blur of brazenly militarized everyday policing, unrelenting hatred and rage, and accelerated racialization of national politics.
What do we do with this?
Blogs are not great for long-view reflection. At this frenzied moment, I can offer only one suggestion for us as progressives: Stay connected. With one another. With the causes that matter for fairness, be it racial, economic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, or physical ability. Stay in the street, literally and figuratively, as an increasingly repressive state and the storm troopers who work for it grow bolder in their audacity. Stay informed, and stay in tune with the movement of people who believe, as you do, in something like a more democratic America.
Yes, back away from the electronic tide when you need to. Hold onto the part of you that would still do and believe what you do and believe if there were no media, no Internet, no Twitter, no 24-hour news cycle.
But also hold onto, or find, people who want the kind of just, public-interested society you want to live in.
At a nightmarish time in which nihilism and cynical suspension of caring are, once again, tempting to many, our shared sense of what is possible for civilized society is one thing we have that cannot be taken away.