Balance: Have We Lost It?


Leonard Zwelling

         It’s August 26. There’s a massive hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico threatening the Texas and Louisiana coast. The coronavirus is still a threat to many Americans. Over 178,000 have died as of this writing. While the stock market may be doing fine, many Americans are suffering the primary and secondary effects of the post-covid economic shutdown in the absence of a renewal of government aid. Both the Democratic and Republican conventions have been virtual for the first time in history—not because they could be, but because they had to be. We have the makings of a presidential race where mediocrity is up against mediocrity. And of all the places in the country to have a riot, the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin are burning. Life is out of balance. “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” And “something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” meaning here in America and certainly in Washington, DC where nothing constructive seems to be getting done.

         Then this.

         Three NBA playoff games have been cancelled after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in their game in protest against the recent police shooting in Kenosha. Many other professional athletes have followed the lead of the Bucks and refused to play in protest. This is occurring as TV ratings for the NBA are declining and some are attributing the drop to the politicization of the game by the players, wearing slogans on their uniforms and making political statements about how Blacks are treated in the country.

         It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath and consider.

         First, what the heck is wrong with the police in Kenosha? After all of these many, very public shootings of unarmed Black people, they seem on the video to be assassinating the man, Jacob Blake. There is no apparent threat to the officers although I am sure that there will be an investigation but what could ever have precipitated thinking people to fire seven shots into an unarmed man’s back? There is no doubt the NBA players have a point to make, but is this the best way to make it? They think so because nothing else has worked. Worked being defined as an end to police violence against Blacks.

Just as Hollywood stars overstep the line when they go political at the Oscars, this too may be an example of people making huge amounts of money to perform and then using their public pedestal for political purposes as they refuse to perform. It seems to be turning off some fans, but it is way more complicated than that. The NBA players do not feel that they have been heard and now they have been.

         The same thing is true of the rioting. The peaceful protests supported by Black Lives Matter garnered a lot of worthy support from the white community. Why do hoodlums have to ruin it by burning down buildings, many in the Black neighborhoods of these towns? No one benefits from a riot and there have been far too many. If the goal was to gain attention for the cause, the peaceful protests did that more than the rioting has. The rioting is losing support for the aggrieved, never a good idea. This is also a susceptibility of Mr. Biden if he is perceived as not being strong enough to resist the calls from the left that this rioting is justified. It is not.

         And what is wrong with Mike Pompeo using the roof of the King David Hotel with the Old City of Jerusalem in the background to make a political speech while on an official mission to the Middle East just to curry favor with the Evangelical crowd. The Secretary of State probably violated the Hatch Act mixing official government business with politics as did the First Lady with her political speech from the Rose Garden. Mr. Trump and his minions are trampling on the Constitution by violating the symbols of public trust for political purposes.

         I believe that the United States elected Mr. Trump in 2016 because it was fed up with politics as usual and if anyone represented politics as usual it was Hillary Clinton. Now I believe America would do anything to get back to something approaching normalcy. This is unlikely to occur. Mr. Trump will just continue to rile up the American political, economic, and scientific systems and Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton with a tie.

         I think America is looking for balance, but instead is getting nothing but extremes from the militant antifa demonstrators who may well be stoking the riots in the cities to the QAnon conspiracy theorists who back Trump. Most Americans need a break.

         Not likely. Laura is a Category 4. The rioting seems to show no signs of abating. The police seem to be out of control (thus the need for the National Guard) and there is still no relief from Washington for those who have lost jobs.

         It’s really a time for something or someone new and yet look at our choice—old and older. Time is out of balance and so is the country. It’s as if our choices will tip the scales too far left or too far right when what we need is the elusive balance of the center.

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