Like many Canadians, I am watching in horror as our neighbour falls into chaos and disorder. And, after reading so many Tweets and news posts about what is going on down there, I feel moved to ponder the situation. #USAonFire #cdnpoli 1/25
What I am seeing is a country built on slave labour, that fought a brutal and bloody civil war before slavery could be abolished. And even with the abolition of slavery, many continued to treat people of colour as inferior. 2/25
Then there was a civil rights movement, which demanded that people, black and white (and brown) be treated equally under the law. And some changes were made to the laws. But legal changes alone do not change the way people think. 3/25
And there are other levers of power besides the law. Under-funding certain schools, suppressing some people's votes, not having the political will to ensure all people have access to a living wage and health care and housing... 4/25
Combined with a police force that started out as slave-catchers and, in many places, continued that culture within their ranks, all encouraged by a wealthy class that holds the lion's share of political power in the country... 5/25
This has led to gross inequality, and discrimination. And instead of progressing from the victories of the Civil Rights Movement, the US has slid back, in temperament and outlook. There are laws to protect black citizens, but they are not observed. 6/25
Police who kill are seldom sanctioned. Fear of the "other" has grown, not receded. Black people are killed almost every day in the US by police. And the number of cases of black people being killed while doing nothing wrong grows and grows. 7/25
And the media helpfully feed the notion that, well, if he or she wasn't doing anything wrong this time, they probably did something in the past... It seems like any past transgression can be turned into a crime punishable by death, if it happens the person is black 8/25
Which has led to the "........ while black" - it could be grocery shopping, or talking on the phone, driving a car, sleeping in your own home. It is a terrible, sick way to treat a segment of your population. And this has been going on and growing for a long time. 9/25
It is no wonder people are taking to the streets in protest of this (yet another) innocent man killed for being black in America. 10/25
And now it seems a lot of the violence, the property damage, that is happening when peaceful protest turns violent, is being instigated by people not involved with Black Lives Matter. It has been suggested that white supremacists are involved. 11/25
This makes some sense. What would white supremacists, like Proud Boys and the KKK want to accomplish? Well, if they can gin up a lot of violence around these protests, they can get regular Americans to turn against BLM, and begin to adopt more racist views. 12/25
They can begin to discredit black Americans whenever they try to organize or push for greater fairness and equality. They could get more supporters, gain more sympathy from legislative bodies. 13/25
And then there is the theory that undercover police are also instigating violence, masquerading as protestors. And what could they possibly gain? Well, proof that their Blue brethren were right to be treated as above the law, because look how dangerous BLM is? 14/25
And who else has something to gain? Well, Trump just tweeted that he is going to make "Antifa" an illegal terrorist organisation. Because, he says, Antifa is behind the violence and any outside agitators. 15/25
It doesn't matter that "Antifa" is not an organisation, just a concept, a movement, a loosely connected scattering of like-minded people who do not want to see totalitarianism take over. Antifa, after all, just means anti-fascist. Which should be everyone's default state. 16/25
This could give the GOP-controlled government the power to crack down on any and all protests. To make being anti-fascist illegal, makes it impossible to criticise anything the government does. Because, clearly, the GOP has distinctly fascist tendencies. 17/25
And, as the police break heads and shoot at protesters, and target journalists and medics working with the injured, the President is contemplating making himself secure, and enabling his administration to do anything, anything they want. 18/25
I read that the only reason there are not heavy tanks in the streets of most American cities right now is that they would damage the roads. Not that innocent people could be killed. No. Simply because infrastructure could be damaged. That speaks volumes. 19/25
I want to be very clear about all this. I am not saying this because I think Canada has no racism. Canada does have racists. Many of them are supporters of the GOP's little brother party, the CPC. 20/25
While we watch America burn, we in Canada should be taking this as a lesson. Racism is a powerful tool that can be exploited by the far right. It can be used to create conflict and then justify draconian measures to suppress that conflict. 21/25
Measures that can be used to suppress any and all dissent. Measures that can mark an end to democracy. 22/25
As the US teeters on the brink of totalitarianism, we in Canada must think deeply about what kind of future we want for our country. We must take care not to let the door open to the kind of inequality, injustice, and unbridled brutality we are seeing unfolding in the US. 23/25
We must take care to not let parties who foment hatred of the other, who try to make us mistrust and hate, form government. There is no room for "barbaric cultural practices" tip-lines, or racially motivated crime in our society. 24/25
We must stand on guard for Canada, now more than ever, and not let our country go down to darkness as we are seeing our neighbour do. It's time for Canadians to speak out about racism, to stand up to it. For all our children, and our children's children. 25/25
You can follow @Norlaine.
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