Just Two Bits of Snark …

My hero for this week is the police chief of Atlanta, Georgia, one Erika Shields.  While other police chiefs and mayors in the 20+ cities that saw protests of the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were behind closed doors, calling out National Guard troops to try to quell the violence, and while Donald Trump cowered behind the White House doors, tweeting ridiculous lies and not so much as mentioning trying to bring the country together, Erika Shields was calming the protests in her city.

Chief Shields waded right into the crowd of protesters, and here’s what she said to them …

Erika-Shields“Let me tell you something, I am standing here because what I saw was my people face to face with this crowd and everybody’s thinking ‘how can we use force and diffuse this’ and I’m not having it. I’m not having that. You have a right to be upset, to be scared, and to want to yell. And we’re going to have everybody doing what they need to do and we’re going to do it safely. That’s my first commitment. And I hear you. I have heard from so many people that cannot sleep, they’re terrified, they’re crying, they’re worried for their children – there’s a problem.”   

She gently touched the arms of the protesters, and one by one they came and thanked her, with tears in their eyes telling her of their fears.

Now, granted, in and of itself, a few kind words won’t fix the problem, won’t stop the violence, but it’s a damn sight better start than Trump threatening to have them shot!  I give Chief Shields two thumbs up for showing empathy, for understanding that threats are not the answer, for remembering that the protestors are there for a reason and that their voices have been ignored for a very long time now.  They are saying … “No longer will we be ignored and treated as second-class citizens!”

KaepernickThe solutions to these problems will not happen overnight, and they will not happen at all as long as we have people in the upper echelons of our government who simply do not care.  Until the very real concerns are taken seriously, until there are steps made toward real solutions, not band-aid fixes, the protests, riots, and violence will continue.  In September 2016, San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick chose to take a knee rather than stand for the national anthem.  He was protesting the exact same thing the protesters today are protesting:  police brutality and murder of black people.  Yet, his very peaceful protest was met with derision, insults, and eventually loss of his job.  Since then, police killings of blacks have continued and now people are tired, they are sick of protesting peacefully and nothing changes.  Until this nation makes changes, there will be protests, some will be violent, some people will die.  It’s a fact, not a speculation.  I don’t condone the violence, but I do understand it and I fully support their cause.

I have long said that Trump’s constant battle with the press would have a disastrous outcome.  When he declared the press the “enemy of the people”, my jaw dropped.  Every president has had his difficulties with the press, but none in the history of this country has ever used the venomous rhetoric that Trump does, and in the last 48 hours, we have seen the results.

On Friday morning, the day began with the chilling arrest of a CNN crew in Minneapolis — two of whom were people of color — even as their cameras rolled. Omar Jimenez, Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were simply doing their jobs, covering the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.  They identified themselves to police, but to no avail.  Then later in the day, CNN headquarters in Atlanta were attacked and vandalized by protestors. CNN-headquartersIn between, all around the country, journalists were harassed.  In Louisville, a police officer shot pepper balls at a local TV reporter, Kaitlin Rust while in Denver, police fired paintballs and tear gas, hitting a news photographer and his camera.  The seeds for these incidents were planted long ago, when Donald Trump declared the press the “enemy of the people”, but this is only the beginning, my friends.  According to Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, the nonprofit organization devoted to free expression …

“By denigrating journalists so often, he has degraded respect for what journalists do and the crucial role they play in a democracy. He’s been remarkably effective in contributing to this topsy-turvy sense that journalists are the opposition.”

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was interviewed by CBS reporter Lesley Stahl, who asked him why he was constantly denigrating members of the press.  His reply?

“You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”

Well, folks, just like it’s time for the black people to stand up and say, “Hell no, we won’t sit down and take it any longer”,  perhaps it’s time for this entire nation, at least those of us who value democratic principles, to say the same about Trump’s abusive denigration of our press.  Please remember that the free press is the only thing standing between a full-fledged dictatorship and a relatively democratic nation.  THE. ONLY. THING.Obama-free-press-quote

44 thoughts on “Just Two Bits of Snark …

  1. Thank you for sharing!!….people of color are not the only ones who are being ridiculed, victimized, walked over, murdered, etc… there a many who are in the trenches trying to change things in a unified civilized manner, to let their voice be heard to the world while avoiding the screaming and the ranting….. no doubt the people, with good intentions, who have taken to the streets to have their voices heard have been taken advantage of by a closed minded element of society using the peoples gathering to impose their own ideology and getting the headlines and taking away some of the message the people are trying to give… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is true … but it seems that decades of trying to change things in a peaceful, unified civilized manner, has not had the desired effect. We are walking backward toward the 1950s and while I do not condone the violence, for violence is NEVER the answer, I do understand the frustration and anger that is boiling over today.


      • I think that in the past all was well, out of sight out of mind (be it climate, environment, social change, etc) so most just “kicked the can down the road” thinking it will go away…
        Plus in the past we did not have technology we have today and were unaware of a good deal unless it affected us directly…
        Times they are a changing but all violence and anger gets is more anger and violence… 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think you’re right … it never went away, just hid for a time. The violence we’re seeing this week … it’s not going away easily, nor perhaps should it. Sigh. I don’t condone the violence, and it’s close to home … just a few miles … tonight, which makes is even more real. But, it’s time for some changes and perhaps this is what it takes to wake people up. The song is apt for these times … thanks, my friend!


  2. That’s why Trump uses Twitter/ FB and avoids the free press, spouting off lies and rhetoric on social media without consequence. He cannot be held accountable for what he says in a forum of public opinion. But the press dutifully report his rants as if it’s gospel. Why won’t the press just agree to stop covering his damn tweets? Because it’s all about sensationalism, ratings and money, seldom about truth.
    Obama’s quote is very telling but you see the dilemma, to uphold a free press and free speech there must be accountability and a code of conduct we ALL must adhere to. Sadly America has lost that sense of decorum, moral compass, doing the right thing exceptionalism if you will… long before Trump. It’s because of this fall from grace that we have Trump in the first place!
    We all know the press is never free, they spin the narrative that suit their corporate overlord’s agenda. CNN, MSNBC do the bidding of neoliberal globalists and Fox News spin populist jingoism. All mainstream media is biased and inaccurate b/c they cannot tell the WHOLE truth. How do you think the population became so polarized? The propaganda “news” certainly played a role in this mess. Lesser known independent journalism is better in this regard, they have not succumbed to corporate or government interference.
    Free speech is also tricky b/c one must accept the bad with the good. While awesome that our speech is a right that’s protected under the first amendment, responsibility, honour, integrity is sorely lacking from today’s leaders.
    Trump is a juvenile delinquent, immature, sociopath lacking presidential grace and wisdom, that’s how low we’ve sunk on the world stage, we’ve elected a farcical Mel Brooks’ Hitler wannabe. If our lamestream media had any integrity left, they would STOP covering a degenerate moron who never thinks before he speaks. Biden is no better with his racist gaffes and declining cognitive acumen.
    This shitshow is devolving into 2016 all over again, with or without Russia’s help. Emoji Trump 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chief Shields and the press are allies and some members of the press may be people of color, too. That is true. They also can guide us on how to respond — to listen, to not turn away, to spread the news, to agree and support. To try to not be part of the problem but instead be part of the solution.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your last sentence says it all! We must be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Tough times, and wouldn’t you think that by now, the 21st century, we would have figured out how to live together, respect each other, and accept people for who they are, not judge them by their skin colour? Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Please, Jill, do not demean the people of colour who are rioting about decades, even centuries, of racism, by making their protests about the members of the mostly white media. This is not the time for it. These riots are about people of colour being downtrodden and walked over, murdered even, by the masterclasses and their legal henchmen. For white people to usurp the outrage of the people can only make things worse. Much worse!
    I understand you are upset and angry, rightfully so, but don’t try to steal the passion of people of colouur. That would just be another act of white racism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What are u saying, you don’t want ALL ppl to unite, regardless of colour, to stand up against institutional racism and injustice? How is Chief Shields, Jill, or any non-coloured person demeaning the movement b/c we express support for the downtrodden and oppressed?
      Plz explain to me how the “mostly white press” is stealing the passion of coloured ppl, and contribute to white racism? How is that usurping power from black protesters? Should we all hide out and not say or do anything?
      I don’t understand ur rationale. Please elucidate. TY

      Liked by 1 person

    • rawgod, I did not in any way, shape or form demean people of colour. I plainly stated that while I do not condone violence, for violence is NEVER the answer, I fully understand their anger and support their cause. I don’t know where you got the idea I was demeaning anyone. Yes, I AM upset and angry, but NOT at the protesters! I am upset and angry at our government, at white people who think their damn pale skin makes them somehow superior. I am upset and angry at this nation as a whole that in this, the 21st century, we are still a nation of bigots. I am upset and angry that we have a so-called ‘president’ who cares more about his own ego than about the people of this nation. And now I am hurt to be called a racist by a good friend. You’ve misunderstood my meaning, apparently.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am not calling you a racist, Jill, I am merely trying to point out the systemic racism that exists, and your reply emphasizes exactly what I am trying to say. You cannot see that changing black riots into Trump attacking the media is stealing their thunder. “Please remember that the free press is the only thing standing between a full-fledged dictatorship and a relatively democratic nation. THE ONLY THING!” These riots are about racism, not democracy, and cops killing blacks needlessly. Cops have no respect for black humans. Yes, the media may be being picked on, black or white, but this is not an issue. Put it into a separate post. Don’t try to join the unjoinable.
        You know I always have your best interests at heart, Jill. I do not think you are racist. It is the system that is racist. I don’t know how to show you what you so obviously cannot see. Don’t try to interfere where you cannot understand that you are interfering.
        Maybe look at Brenda’s following comment. She is giving a white chief of police in Atlanta the power to “guide” black rioters. For as much as I think what Shields is doing is wonderful, she is not black. Blacks are not looking for “allies,” they are looking for control of their own lives. They want to be able to walk outside without fear of being harassed, arrested, or killed. They want the same freedoms as white people already have. Freedom to live without physical, mental, and spiritual FEAR.
        Is it too much to ask to let them do this their way?


        • @rawgod,
          Very good! I understand you to be a mindful and compassionate man. With that context in spirit, I comprehend your intention and will sit with you in silent solidarity.
          Of course at our current level of human consciousness, the existing power structure will NEVER allow blacks and indigenous ppls to be free, no matter the media spin and pc rhetoric.
          Sure, let “them” “do it” “their way”, not that anything will fundamentally change. We both know it’s not a matter of doing, or saying, collective consciousness MUST evolve for the human race to continue existing. Climate change, racism, classism or any ism are merely symptoms of a greater existential problem.
          “Saying, doing, wanting is already a big mistake.” – Seung Sahn Sunim

          Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t ever see it changing..maybe it’s nature’s way of making sure we eventually destroy ourselves and leave the planet in peace .
            I don’t think we will be around long enough to evolve, due to climate changes, as that could take tens of thousands of years if not more…

            Liked by 2 people

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