To put it mildly, 2020 has become Dennis Hopper on a bad acid trip. Every time we think things can’t get any worse or weirder, somebody says, “Hold my beer.” And for once, it’s not me.
Black Lives Matter has inspired a group in Seattle to create a self-contained community formerly called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) and now called the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP). Nice to know these folks have an internal PR firm because CHAZ makes them sound like a creepy scumbag guy at the bar hitting on any woman with a pulse. Whatever they want to call themselves is fine, but it’s interesting to note what these CHAZholes actually do.
At least, I hope it’s interesting enough, otherwise I have nothing else to write about this week.
What the Left thinks it means – a group of protesters banding together in peace and harmony to protest police brutality
What it really means – Occupy 2.0 with better acronyms
Remember the good old days when Occupy Wall Street took over public parks and turned them into communes full of drug use, rapes, and people repeating whatever some doofus with a megaphone would say? Those were the days, weren’t they? Now, that’s passe. The new hotness is taking over six square blocks of downtown properties (often without permission from the owners, I might add) and setting up Zuccotti Park West, complete with a warlord.
Well, he calls himself a warlord. He’s actually a rapper turned warlord.
And, well, CHAZ/CHOP isn’t really all that autonomous. In fact, they’re on social media frequently with requests for food and other items they need to survive. Oh, and they’ve only now started a garden, fertilized with human waste. And when you consider the upheaval in just one week ranging from multiple assaults and at least one theft to the suicide of a trans leader within CHAZ/CHOP, I think it’s safe to say the great CHAZ/CHOP experiment has stumbled more than a drunken sailor with a shortened peg leg.
But I’m probably just poisoning the well. I’m sure CHAZ/CHOP will be just fine, just like the Occupy folks were.
Actually, now that I think about it, Occupy Wall Street started petering out when the weather got cold. It’s one thing to rage against the machine when the weather’s nice, but it’s a lot harder to muster the resolve to fight the power when you’re also fighting frostbite. This hits on one of the major problems both Occupy Wall Street and CHAZ/CHOP face: a lack of personal discipline. Feeling passionate about a cause such as police brutality can only take you so far if you aren’t prepared to act on that passion no matter what the sacrifice. Given the fact neither group could do without their cell phones, I’m going to guess they aren’t all that down for the struggle.
The bigger question that comes up for me in both cases is what the actions taken had to do with the intended end result. Is camping out in Seattle going to make bad police officers suddenly stop being violent idiots with badges? Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see how we get from Point A to Point B. Even with the Mayor of Seattle and the Governor of Washington supporting CHAZ/CHOP and being receptive to their demands/expectations, there’s a pretty big gap that no one seems to be able to address.
Granted, this could fall under the penumbra of “raising awareness” that Leftists trot out whenever they do something stupid and non-productive for a cause du joir, but I’m gonna have to say we’re aware of some police officers getting overzealous while on duty. Awareness isn’t the problem here, kids. Some of us are just having trouble figuring out how your actions lead to better policing. The Underpants Gnomes from “South Park” had a better grasp on things than you guys do.
This may make for great comedy for those of us who understand the absurdity of calling a group that still asks for help “autonomous,” but I get the feeling there’s a tragedy brewing because CHAZ/CHOP plays to the worst of our human nature. We all strive for freedom, but not everyone takes into account what that freedom can do to others in our general vicinity. That’s where personal discipline comes into play. If you feel you are free to do whatever you want, there is a good likelihood you are going to infringe upon others because you are going to be more concerned about yourself than you are about anyone else. Combine that with the narcissism running rampant in our culture today and you have all the makings of anarchy. All it takes is a spark.
Guess what, CHAZ/CHOP folks! You’re sitting on a powder keg in the middle of a wildfire, and it’s not if it will explode, but when. Whether you get external pressure from the property owners whose properties you’ve overtaken or internal pressure when the inhabitants of CHAZ/CHOP get fed up with the lack of progress or the inevitable butting of heads, you’ve built the means of your own destruction.
Just like Occupy Wall Street did.
The biggest problem CHAZ/CHOP faces right now is a lack of a clear message and direction. Sure, the Mayor may say it seems like a street festival, but how many street festivals have a warlord? Even if he’s only self-titled, it’s a bad look made even worse by driving out a police precinct under threat of firebombing. Regardless of whether it’s the CHAZ/CHOP gang or a different group doing it, CHAZ/CHOP is going to get blamed for no other reason than proximity, and you kids haven’t done anything to counter that perception.
In the end, though, you may have a story to tell your grandchildren someday, but you will have accomplished nothing. With a track record like that, some of you may occupy a Congressional seat someday.