Monday, August 1, 2016

Natural Allies

It occurs to me that the Black Lives Matter movement and the tea party movement ought to be natural allies. Wait, hear me out. The movements share some of the same policy goals.

BLM has as one of its 10 categories of policy solutions: ending the "over-policing of communities." The tea party has as one of its 15 non-negotiable core beliefs: "Intrusive government must be stopped."

BLM focuses on things like the criminalization of issues that should be handled by social workers or mental health professionals instead of police. The tea party focuses on things like red light cameras and the militarization of police. The root cause underlying many of the complaints, "intrusive government" and "over-policing," is the same.

If the tea party and BLM sought common ground and allied themselves, they would make a powerful political movement. Why don't they? I have a theory about that, too. ;-)

To be blunt, it's because of a racial divide. BLM openly attributes the problem to racism. Instead of focusing on public policy changes, BLM often focuses on vengeance against individual perpetrators of police brutality against blacks.

And the tea party, although they vehemently deny it, contain more than their share of racists. Despite rates of violent crime in America being lower than at any time in 40 years, "law and order" is featured in Donald Trump's presidential campaign. It's a dog whistle to aggrieved whites, who believe they know which community is responsible for that imagined rise in crime.

The result is that BLM and the tea party cancel each other, resulting in the perpetuation of both "intrusive government" and "over-policing of our communities."

It's often said that politics makes strange bedfellows. Unfortunately, in some cases, it also leads to visceral hatred between two groups that really ought to be in bed together, natural allies, at least on this one issue.

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