Well. Quiet weekend, huh?
Here’s today’s five:
Defunding the police: It’s a catchy phrase, all right, and one designed to provoke outsized responses on the right and the left, and at least mild consternation for the people who don’t think they’re either on the right or the left. It’s a lot catchier than “Don’t make cops the people who have to handle every damn thing because we’ve defunded social programs and the experts who would do a better job with those issues and also don’t have guns to shoot people, let’s fund those programs with some of the money that we’ve given to the cops because we made them do all that stuff,” which as I understand it is closer to the generally accepted understanding of what “Defund the Police” means. There are other parts to it as well, so before you come into the comments to let me know that, please be aware that I do, but I’m trying to keep things short, here.
Interestingly and anecdotally, the little rural village I live in, Bradford, defunded the police a long time ago — when I moved here, Bradford had its own police force, and then several years ago the village decided to cut the force and contract with the county sheriff’s department for law enforcement, presumably to save money and/or reapportion that money to other village services. And what happened? Not much of anything, really. Crime didn’t go up, or if it did, not enough that I noticed. Mind you, I don’t imagine anyone here would call that “defunding the police,” even if that’s literally what it was. Whatever you call it, we did it, and it was… fine. Possibly this solution from the heartland could apply elsewhere.
Trump poll numbers are down: Which made my brain offer two contradictory thoughts, the first being well yeah, after that last week of his where else could they go, and the second being, who was left to support him but his base? But apparently there were some people left? Bless their hearts. It’s June and not November, so Trump loathers (of which, you should know by now, I am one) should not get in the least bit cocky. But yes, it’s not looking good at the moment. There’s a rumor that Trump is planning to speak this week on race and national unity. Well, that will do something for his poll numbers, I expect.
Local protests: In case you were curious if my own rural county had any protests this weekend, why yes, it did: Roughly 150 people in Greenville, the county seat. It went… pretty peacefully, apparently. 150 people doesn’t seem like a lot, but per capita, it would be like 30,000 people protesting in Los Angeles county, so when you put it in those terms, it’s a decent enough showing. And honestly, for a rural county that’s 98% white and went 78% for Trump in 2016, 150 people showing up for a Black Lives Matter protest is not insignificant. Good for them. Hopefully it was done in a responsibly socially distant manner.
Yes, Scalzi, but what did you do? Well:
I'm about get to 180k followers. Usually at a 10k+ marker, I do something goofy, like record a song or make a terrible burrito. This time I donated $1,800, split between BLM, Dayton Ohio NAACP, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. Thanks for being part of my Twitter life, folks.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 8, 2020
I put some money down, on top of some money I had previously put down for other charitable organizations related to the protests, and the money I put into the GoFundMes for Uncle Hugo’s and DreamHaven. I have the money to give, so out it goes. Someone on Twitter was talking about lanes and protesting, as in, some people are in the “show up at a protest” lane, some people are in the “be loud with your words” lane, some other people are in the “get out your checkbook” lane and so on. All lanes are valid and you don’t have to be in every lane. I like that sentiment, and I’m good with the lanes I’ve chosen to be in.
Stop “Help”ing: Apparently in the wake of the current protests, The Help has become one of the most watched films on Netflix, as (presumably) white folks try to walk a mile in their African-American betheren’s shoes by watching a film about a white person, made by mostly white people, mostly for white people. Fortunately, The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard is here to be of assistance, with some film/tv suggestions centering on and by black people, to watch instead of The Help, or, at least, after one is done watching The Help. See, that’s actually being helpful.