There has never been a time in American history when they haven’t used violent force to scare, bully, intimate, injure, maim, disfigure, and murder.
They of course, are those who wish to curtail rights and reverse progress, and there has never been a time in America—not yesterday, not the week before, not the month before, not the year before, not the decade before, not the century before—when they haven’t directed their terror at black Americans. And also others who have had their rights restricted and their personhoods and citizenships doubted. And also others who appear to be aligned with these fights. That they, eventually, exist on the wrong side history doesn’t matter. Or, better yet, it doesn’t deter them. They have always existed. And each new generation finds and molds and cultivates more iterations of them.
Perhaps there have been stretches of time when the terror wasn’t as conspicuous. When there weren’t as many stories in the news about them threatening the lives of those who just want to live. Which has led some people to believe that this is a uniquely partisan time. A uniquely terrible time. A uniquely dangerous time.
As exceptional as America wants to believe it is, a violent America is not the exception. An America where millions of its citizens are faced with inequalities that are legal and protected by the law and enforced, violently, by that law is not the exception. An America where the fight for civil rights and the fight against white supremacy is met with their bullets, billy clubs, nooses, rocks, fists, spit, brass knuckles, barbed wire, firehoses, firing squads, dogs, handcuffs, barricades and bombs is not the exception.
They have always done this. This is what they do.