Is a life worth more than property?

I should hope so. But apparently not everyone agrees. John Pavlovitz describes the situation well:

I don’t know what the monetary damage of the protests in Minneapolis will be, but I know that we should value George Floyd’s life more than that, which is the point.

We should be more twisted in our insides by the malicious termination of beautiful human beings than by the destruction of shopping centers.

We should be moved to sickness by white knees of police officers driven into the necks of black men—not by the knees of black men on football fields, asking white officers to show black men humanity.

That we are not, declares who we are.  

A reflection for Memorial Day

Here’s a reflection for Memorial Day. The dates have changed, and the language is sexist by today’s standards. But the rest of this seems as true today as it was in 1863. Please take a minute to read it, and ponder what it means to us today. And let’s continue the fight to end racism and preserve our Constitution. Renewing our promise to do these things is the most appropriate thing we can do on Memorial Day.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us:

—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion;

—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;

—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom;

—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln (Nov. 19, 1863).

The real disaster

John Pavolvitz:

That’s the real story of this disaster: the illness that will linger, the one whose cure will not be forthcoming, the one we’ll never have a vaccine for: the toxic combination of abject selfishness and contempt for science and tribal politics and white supremacy that has left people impervious to the suffering of others and unwilling to alter their lifestyles on behalf of saving a stranger. 

John Pavovitz, This Virus Is the Least of Our Problems, America (16 May 2020).

Yes, public-health orders are constitutional.

Yes, Virginia, public-health orders are constitutional.

Seat-belt laws, anti-smoking laws and mandatory vaccinations all stirred passionate opposition at one time or another. A hallmark of these dust-ups is proclamations that public health orders are illegal or in violation of constitutional rights.

These well-worn assertions about unfettered personal liberty are visible as ever today, displayed on hand-made signs, shouted from sidewalks and spread through media channels. They are rarely challenged publicly in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic. They should be, because they’re wrong. 

Laws to protect public health have been litigated over many years. Courts have sided with states’ rights to impose public health mandates when one person’s liberty poses a provable health threat to others. 

Harlan Spector (May 11, 2020).

La. stay-home order to be lifted on May 15

Today, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the end of the stay-home order and the beginning of Phase One reopening of business. Here’s a link to the official announcement. This means that many (not all) businesses can re-open if they can maintain social distancing (six feet between persons) and require everyone to wear a facemask. To do this, businesses will have to limit occupancy to 25% of capacity. Here’s an except from the announcement:

Phase One guidance will allow essential businesses, as defined by CISA, to remain open. Non-essential businesses (sometimes called “gray area” businesses) and places of worship may remain open at 25 percent of their occupancy. All business owners should read the order to understand which category their business falls into.

New types of businesses that may open beginning on May 15, with 25 percent occupancy limits, sanitation guidelines and spacing for physical distancing include:

    • Gyms and fitness centers
    • Barber shops and hair and nail salons
    • Casinos and Video Poker
    • Theaters
    • Racetracks (not open to spectators)
    • Museums, zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
    • Bars and breweries with LDH food permits

The following businesses remain closed: massage establishments and spas, tattoo parlors, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, arcades, fairs, bars and breweries without LDH food permits, pool halls, contact sports, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, adult entertainment venues, and other similar businesses.

Just wear the damned mask.

Idiots are asking, "If the government can make you wear a mask, what else can they make you do?", as if the mask requirement would set a bad precedent. Let's make a list of some things the government already makes people do:

  1. Wear clothes outside. Try exercising your God-given right to be naked outside (see Genesis 2:25). See how that goes.
  2. Pay taxes.
  3. Stop at a red light.
  4. Get drafted in war time. (That's a huge imposition on the draftee's liberty, don't you think?)

I could go on, but you get the point. Show me someone who thinks that a facemask requirement is some pernicious government plot, and I'll show you an ignoramus incapable of observation or thought.

White Americans: pick a side

There are two sides: racist and anti-racist. Silence equals choosing the racist side. John Pavolvitz explains it well:

[I]n this America there are only two kinds of white Americans: there are white racists and there are white anti-racists.

Not professed anti-racists, who click the roof of their mouths, feel an initial wave of sadness at news of murders of jogging black men—and then move on with their day.
Not anti-racists who endure grotesque racist dinner table diatribes from their uncles and mothers and husbands, and choose not to speak because they don’t want to deal with the blowback at home.
Not anti-racists who sit through incendiary Sunday sermons from supremacist pastors, and somehow find themselves in the same pew the next Sunday and the Sunday after that and the Sunday after that.
Not anti-racists who absorb vile break room jokes and outwardly laugh along while internally feeling sick to their stomachs.
Not anti-racists who scroll past the most dehumanizing memes and videos from people they’ve grown up with and gone to high school with, not wanting to engage the collateral damage of publicly confronting them.

In the presence of this kind of cancerous hatred, the kind that killed Ahmaud Arbery, the kind that is having a renaissance here in America—there aren’t moderate grey spaces to sit comfortably and observe from a distance.

No, this is a place of stark black and white extremist clarity:
You oppose the inhumanity or you abide it.
You condemn the violence or you are complicit in it.
You declare yourself a fierce and vocal adversary of bigotry—or you become its silent ally.

France Chance (beta version)

Here’s a song I’ve been practicing lately: “France Chance,” by Joe Callicott via Kenny Brown. This version is unplugged; I may do another one later with a little amplification. Slightly rough in a couple of spots, but not bad for a hobbyist.

White terrorism

John Pavlovitz hits another home run. Here’s a taste:

What we witnessed in Michigan was an act of terrorism, by the very definition of the word. We have seen many such acts this week, and if November allows this malevolence another four years, they will seem tame. The self-appointed soldiers in the army of the lord will grow more brazen and become more violent in their holy war to make America whiter—so decent white people need to resist them in the streets, on social media, and at the polls.