The equivalences between Tiananmen Square, 1989 and today are understandable, but some big differences remain.
First, probably thousands of people died in Tiananmen Square and throughout the country in response to those protests. Thousands. The official tally, which no one believes, is still around three hundred. People have died in the protests and riots, but not thousands.
Secondly, these protests may change things. If people can maintain their dedication and passion, they can vote to change the President, their senators and representatives, and most important to them personally, change the local government. It’s local government that really affects people and establishes police culture.
I believe in the power of a vote. I believe in the power of the masses. If people want to change their governments, democracy allows them to. I’ve seen a lot of speculation that Trump won’t leave office if he’s voted out, and I cannot reconcile that with the sharp language coming from the military. They’re upholding their oaths to the Constitution. Not the president.
A lot of people seem to think Soldiers and veterans, and I’ll speak of us exclusively, are some mindless army of stormtroopers. Those people think we’re the legions of Bond villains, willing to die for no reason. They don’t realize we’re cognizant, make choices, and think because they don’t know us and write us off with stereotypes.
It’s a lack of perspective. Many of them disagree with us, and instead of really believing people are different, they assume we’re stupid or not people. Perhaps we’re evil. Cops do it to minorities. Everyone does it to members of congress (congress-critters or Moscow Mitch). But it’s laying bare the sharp limitations of the dialogue in America, probably the world, and how we revel in stereotyping those we do not agree with.
You don’t overcome injustice with more, and you don’t defeat disunity by destroying the disunited.
I wonder how much of a role the coronavirus lockdown is causing. I know my temper is shorter than usual. I also know what happened to George Floyd is a travesty, and it’s just the most recent and most published in a long bloody trail from antiquity to now.
But I doubt, deeply, that more anger is the solution. I don’t see any part of the world and think, If they were just angrier, their lives would be better.
There’s way too much fear, and I don’t know the solution to that either. I don’t think it’s guns and violence. Those are symptoms, and the police are scared. Badly, deeply, scared.
The Chinese Communist Party is scared, deeply scared, of its people.
The word triggering took its psychological connotation from a method of defeating phobias. Patients were exposed to ‘triggering’ phenomena, things they were afraid of, in safe situations. The course of treatment desensitized them to their fears. Perhaps understanding is the path forward, with it learning and education. But safety isn’t made in knowledge, but by love and care.