In Machiavelli’s lesser known works, The Discourses, he divulges into a comparison of the state to the human body. As the body grows older, it becomes more susceptible to disease, and sometimes one cell can go rogue and turn into cancer. If that cancer goes untreated, the body will wither away and die. The same applies to the state; America is not an exception.
Today, recent events of murder against both African-Americans and police officers in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas clearly show that America is under signs of significant stress. The ruptures between those who support Black Lives Matter and those who support Blue Lives Matter are growing ever deeper. This mistrust between the two groups has been building for decades due to lack of communication and each side victimizing themselves respectively.
What makes matters worse is the mainstream media pouring gasoline on the fire by how they write their stories. They report that Alton Sterling had several run-ins with the law and posted his mug shot in their articles, yet they describe Brock Turner, a convicted rapist, in a lighter tone as captain of the Stanford Swim Team along with his official swim team picture. Furthermore, the media’s depiction of violent police encounters encourages radicalized minds like Micah Johnson to go out on homicidal shooting rampages against law enforcement who were protecting otherwise peaceful protests.
America has had its share of ruptures before in its history, resulting in its rebirth. The Civil War ended slavery as an accepted practice. World War II transformed America from its traditional preferred state of isolation to the leading superpower on the world’s stage. The Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s concluded the laws of Jim Crow that legally designated African-Americans as second-class citizens. The 9/11 attacks ushered in a new era of surveillance that we all live under today.
If history tells us anything, it is that a breaking point is coming. It is apparent that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s did not solve everything and that the vestiges of the Jim Crow Era still exist today. The War on Drugs and overzealous municipal budgets incentivizes police to arrest Americans, overwhelmingly minorities, at an alarming rate for harmless crimes. America is at a crossroads and must decide what kind of nation it aspires to be for us and future generations. If shifting demographics tells us anything, then America is in for a substantial adjustment.
Photo Credit: Jackson Forderer/ MPR News, Jerry Holt / Star Tribune