As horrific and unjustifiable as the lone sniper’s killing of Dallas Police Officers last night are, this ought not be surprising in light of the growing frustration at police impunity to use excessive force on civilians, especially on populations of color. The sniper was not part of any organized group, including Black Lives Matter, yet this individual had reached a boiling point of taking some kind of action.
Nevertheless, the right-wing hate machine went into action. For example, Joe Walsh, a former U.S. Congressmen and now a conservative talk show host, decided to pour fuel on the fire with this tweet last night:
What does Walsh mean by “Real America” is “coming after” the President of the United States and peaceful protesters appalled and feeling helpless against centuries of police violence on Black and Brown populations?
“Real America” is clearly a White America for White supremacist nationalism. This is what Trump’s nostalgic slogan of “Make America Great Again” is clearly all about.
Now, should Walsh be arrested for threatening the President? You and I would likely be “detained” and interrogated by the FBI if we made any such public comment that appeared to threaten physical harm to a President – but prominent public figures on the Right are allowed to provoke without consequences.
Only Walsh’s ideological anti-Black racism can possibly connect Obama to having anything to do with the police shooting in Dallas or elsewhere. For the record, as the Daily Kos reported,
“The fact is that fewer police officers have been killed during the six-plus years of [Obama’s] presidency than during the first six years of any modern presidency.”
Never mind facts. As the Southern Poverty Law Center documents, Trump and his armed, anti-democratic racist ilk are just itching to open fire on a Black president and supporters of Black Lives Matter. This, too, should not be surprising. The U.S. has been in “race war” since its colonial founding with laws and extralegal means to terrorize Indigenous, Black, and Latino populations (now add in Arab and Muslim populations). Since the era of slavery, people of African descent have been fighting for their freedom and liberty against a political and civic culture of White supremacy.
In The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, Gerald Horne documents in great detail the pervasive White fear over “free” Blacks living in the midst of Whites. A line in this important book reminded me of the millions of White anti-Obama folks who have armed themselves out of some kind of fear of having a Black president as well as witnessing an interracial Black Lives Matter social justice movement. Horne writes that
“militarizing of the settler class was another remedy [against Black insurrections] pursued with little consideration as to what this might mean for the culture created.”
That armed culture that was created is most certainly with us 250 years later – in the form of White militias and police regimes that appear to operate with an unacknowledged psychic fear of Black retaliation for a history of White terrorism.
Last night before learning about the sniper killings of Dallas police officers, a friend of mine laid out his argument that we are witnessing the slow unfolding of a civil war. He might be correct. As long as racist issues remain unresolved from Reconstruction after the Civil War and from what some call the Second Reconstruction of the Civil Rights Movement of the last century, it will likely take a movement toward a 21st century Third Reconstruction along with a full-blown period of Truth and Reconciliation for the nation to face the root causes that create conditions for both cops and people of color to be killed and for the rise of Trump’s right-wing racist crusade.