One of the most unbelievable aspects of the demonstrations over the last few months has been the support they’ve received from sources that kids of my generation would have rather died than accept: politicians, bureaucrats, and even some cops.
It’s what we were rebelling against: authority, conformity, and politics-as-usual.
But today, Black Lives Matter demonstrations take on many of the attributes of a state-sponsored religion.
Among the reasons why this still-amorphous ‘movement’ became so widely popular with such break-neck speed is perhaps because in the eyes of many, it transcended mere politics. Many so-called protests took on features highly reminiscent of religion: collective worship, public confession and requests for salvation, devotional poses and gestures, group prayer, the creation of a new pantheon of martyr figures to revere, and the adoption of liturgical rites and rituals.
Children and teenagers have been encouraged to publicly repent for their sins, with the ‘original sin’ being ‘white privilege’. In the small town of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, I witnessed a white teenager named Frankie, wearing a sleekly designed ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt, nervously stand before the assembled crowd (also overwhelmingly white) and proclaim, ‘Every single white person here today benefits from white privilege’ — to rousing applause. His solution for this alleged problem was heavily individualized: each white person in attendance must take the personal initiative ‘to learn’ about their privilege, and ‘ask themselves on a day by day basis how they can help’.
Not to belabor the point, but one of those “rituals” appears to be looting big-box stores and burning other symbols of their “capitalist oppressors,” including Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants. The irony, of course, is that those businesses hire a lot of black kids who otherwise would be unemployed. So much for “justice.”
The charge that these protests are “state-sponsored” is buttressed by expressions of support from politicians who apparently are unconcerned that the demonstrations led to rioting. Their eagerness to demonstrate how woke they are and their groveling before the barbarians are not only sickening but a betrayal of their constituents and oaths to uphold the law.
You can tell these demonstrations enjoy state backing because they are commonly in direct violation of legal directives, still on the books, which prohibit mass gatherings due to the still-raging pandemic. Not only have the demonstrations been permitted, they have been avowedly endorsed and participated in by the very elected officials whose orders nominally prohibit them. For example, Executive Order 2020-38 decreed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, still currently in effect, bars ‘any gathering of more than 10 people’ statewide. But on June 19, Prizker himself took part in a Chicago rally of far greater than 10 people, at which no ‘social distancing’ was evident. Theoretically he could be subject to prosecution — for violating his own order.
The hypocrisy has been noted in many commentaries about the pandemic regulations being flouted during the demonstrations and authorities nodding their approval. But it’s also the genuflecting to the mob by woke white leftists and kids aping their elders that should worry anyone concerned about the future of the country. Are we to be compelled by authorities to worship at the altar of Black Lives Matter? Have they become the confessors for our sins — real and imagined?
This is, indeed, a “transformation” — from liberty to tyranny. Put in those terms, will we elect the enablers of this new religion or resist the temptation to congratulate ourselves for our tolerance and forbearance?