Urban trekking around Denver the other day, I happened across a protest march of maybe a thousand people. Here’s what I observed.
The marchers were almost all white. I saw fewer than a dozen black people and no Hispanics.
Most were young women looking vaguely guilt-ridden. They were well-dressed, well-groomed and well-fed. I’m not passing judgment, mind you, but just reporting the facts.
Some were in small groups of similar young women. Some were with boyfriends, who were neither well-groomed nor well-fed. They were scrawny and scruffy, if you ask me, with thin beards.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a guy with a body and beard that are thin and a girlfriend who’s not. Again, I’m just reporting the facts.
Most wore COVID masks. In virtue signaling, their march and their masks made the day a twofer.
Many carried signs displaying slogans like “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George.”
I agreed with those signs, at least the literal words of them. George deserves justice just as everyone does, and black lives matter just as all lives do.
The marchers surely aren’t worried that we onlookers reading those innocuous signs will don our MAGA hats, pull our 9 mm and shout: “No! Black lives do not matter! And no justice for George!”
So why were the marchers there?
Protesting that would be politically incorrect. Protesting that would require real courage.
No, it was not real courage that they were displaying. It was cheap virtue. After a morning of mirror preening, they went out for some moral preening.
In that respect, their little picnic walk (I was offered a water bottle) was as harmless as it was pointless. I guarantee that these suburban girls and their girly men aren’t looters.
But one sign troubled me. It appeared in various incantations, but the gist was “Justice NOW for George.”
I’ll be clear. I’ve watched the video of George dying, and it was horrifying. If no exculpatory evidence turns up, then I hope those cops rot in jail. I’m guessing nearly all people – including other cops – hope for the same.
But notice the “if” in the preceding paragraph. We have a system here in America that is summed up with “innocent till proven guilty.” That proof of guilt is presented, and challenged, at a trial.
Here, the cop has been arrested and is in jail on a million-dollar bond awaiting that trial. Given that, what exactly does the shouted word “NOW” mean in “Justice NOW for George”?
Are the protesters demanding that we bypass the trial and just lynch the cops right now? What kind of justice is that? I thought we reserved that sort of swift and trial-free punishment for Republican judicial nominees.
What about people like me, who think the video looks very bad but the cop still deserves a trial? For that sentiment, would the protesters lynch me too? Or would they lynch me instead for my MAGA hat and 9mm?
What if the evidence shows that the cop was a Democrat who mourns global warming and drives to yoga class in a Prius with a COEXIST bumper sticker, and that George admired Justice Clarence Thomas?
If that’s what the evidence shows, will these protesters let the cop off while spitting on George’s grave?
Here’s the problem. These sheep-like feel-gooders are cowards but nonetheless dangerous in a way they naively fail to grasp. They advocate a world where guilt depends not on a person’s actions but on how the herd carelessly and conveniently perceives his identity.
It’s the very definition of bigotry.
Humanity has tried all this before. The results were like the strangulation of George, but 100 million times over. Let’s not go back there.
(Published in Real Clear Politics, Instapundit, Powerline, and elsewhere)