The chorus of pundits proclaiming shock at the riots is another version of indignation not supported by history. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said it was “hard to believe this was happening in a major American city.” He then added, “I don’t remember seeing anything like this in the United States of America in a long time.” How could a journalist not remember the recent riots in Ferguson, Los Angeles, and New York?
America was born out of protest. We felt economically suppressed and politically repressed, and we changed things. Slaves weren’t freed by benevolent leaders wanting to do the right thing. No one gave the American worker better and safer conditions out of gratitude for a job well done. Vietnam veterans didn’t get their benefits from an Agent-Orange-denying government by sitting at home waiting patiently. Each time, Americans took to the streets to be heard.
I suggest we all pay attention to what’s happening in Baltimore, because it’s very likely that unless the economic and injustice issues raised there are addressed in a meaningful way across the country, we will be seeing many more Baltimores throughout the election season.