The crowd cheered. I hustled to slide the fresh battery into place, snap the latch closed, click on, and survey the scene. On their knees, protestors in front of the newly erected fence applauded as a cop on the other side took a knee. Around him, other cops seemed to take no notice, shifting in their riot gear as the sun slowly dipped behind the White House. I didn’t bother taking a picture. Shallow displays of solidarity are easy and pathetic, both in practice and in pictures.
More so than that, they are dangerous. They offer up an illusion of hope and trust in the system. They bolster the “some bad apples” argument in the face of a deeply rotten institution, founded in slave patrols, constructed to serve and protect the ruling class. They argue that performative theatrics are synonymous with real systemic change. They represent the insidious drive to gaslight us into apathy, to bury violence beneath a fleeting veil of showy concern.
It’s the ultimate abusive relationship: the people and the state – the police like an exaggerated arm holding a cocked gun; saying it’s for your protection as you find yourself in its crosshairs. I mean