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Two meanings are associated with black lives matter. The first is a rallying cry. The second is an organization.As to the first, black lives indeed matter. But so do white lives, Southern lives, Texan lives, Italian-American lives, not because they are black, or white, or Southern, or Texan, or Italian-American but because every one of them is a human being. Black lives matter because all lives matter.Separating black lives matter from all lives matter excludes every American who is not black and tends to divide us from one another. Black lives matter turns us away from the long-standing inclusive American motto “e pluribus unum” which means though we are different we are all one in America. Further, black lives matter turns us away from the Declaration of Independence which states that “… all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We fell far short of that ideal at the time we declared our independence and we paid dearly for that failure during the war between the states. However, we have made progress with the Emancipation Proclamation, along with the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments enacted shortly after that war, to bring us closer to the practice of equality in political affairs. The one man, one vote rule, which was established in a series of Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and affirmative action have brought us much closer.As to its second meaning, black lives matter refers to the BLM organization which raises money for distribution to chapters across the United States that actively organize and engage in public protests. Those protests at times have turned violent and have led to looting and burning private businesses, tearing down public statues including American presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, and attacking law enforcement officers tasked to defend people and property.BLM helps organize peaceful protests but cannot dismiss responsibility for the damage done when those protests turn violent. The damage may not be intentional on the part of the individual protesters but it is very personal, real, and significant for those innocent parties who become victims of the violence. Loss of life for the few, loss of property for the many. The organizers have a moral obligation to suspend protesting once it becomes clear that continuing to protest likely will trigger more violence.In his “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, Martin Luther King set down the code of conduct for those who organize protests.“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence.”
Sadly, BLM’s website does not even mention MLK’s code of conduct, much less affirm that the code provides guidance in any public event sponsored by BLM. In its 42-page Impact Report for 2020 MLK is not mentioned at all, but Malcolm X is, especially his end-justifies-the-means rallying cry “freedom by any means necessary.”The BLM organization, whose leadership is thoroughly versed in Marxism, is committed to radically changing the public institutions that from the time of the establishment of the republic have assured the American people self-governance with a special emphasis on the Bill of Rights. Those rights protect the minority from the intolerance and the oppression of the majority, still imperfectly, but with discernible improvement over the last 70 years. Attacking the police as killers of blacks, defunding the police, and re-imaging law enforcement is one example of BLM’s efforts to change public institutions. The undermining of the traditional male-female family structure is another. Its struggle to re-write state voting laws, which to BLM suppress the votes of blacks, is a third.BLM has adopted the clinched fist as its official symbol which is on display prominently in its Impact Report. It can be linked to the Black Panther movement started in the 1960s by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Using the Black Panther’s own fund-raising theme “survival pending revolution,” BLM raised $90 million in 2020.Inspired by Malcolm X, the Black Panthers called for the power “to determine the destiny of our Black Community,” an end to police brutality, and the repeated use of “liberation” from an oppressive economic system rather than “freedom” associated with the American republic. BLM advocates several of the same objectives and shares the same language.With its action-oriented agenda, BLM’s rootedness in Malcolm X rather than MLK is one of the reasons older Americans feel so divided, so threatened, so afraid that they are losing their God-given rights to petition their government, to express themselves in the spoken and written word, to assemble peacefully in public, to worship freely in the place of worship of their choice.The BLM organization is not a civil-rights organization. It is a revolutionary organization intent on the overthrow of the United States government. In the end, that’s what the looting, burning, tearing down, and attacking are all about. BLM would dismantle our experiment in self-governance that has lasted for more than 225 years and replace it with a Marxist state in which all lives matter as long as they are willing to be subordinated to the elite few who control the collectivist state. Notwithstanding the failed collectivist states of Russia and its satellite countries, along with North Korea, Cuba. and Venezuela, BLM and its allies are convinced they will get it right this time.For BLM getting it right means keeping the trappings of democracy – using freedom and liberation interchangeably, calling for social justice, attacking photo identification as a form of voter suppression -- all the while its ultimate objective is a passive and subservient people who have been duped into believing that by casting their votes with one political party they remain in control of their government. BLM wants one-party rule where they are among the elite few with control of every significant decision. They believe fervently that the good government they would bring about is always better than self-government. They are persuaded that Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Adams, Washington, and the other founding fathers got it wrong and they have much better design for governing the American people. Don’t believe their not so thinly-veiled rhetoric inspired by Malcolm-X. Believe the words of Martin Luther King. Edward J. O’Boyle is a Senior Research Associate with Mayo Research Institute. He has offices in West Monroe, Lake Charles and New Orleans. He can be reached at 381-4002 or [email protected]
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