And so the long hot summer is upon us.
The spark, a black man coldly suffocated by a white cop in Minneapolis.
Cue flames, bullets, shattered glass.
The accelerant – the man-made economic disaster, which has left millions of people locked away as their work and savings evaporate.
It's easy to blame the coronavirus pandemic for the meltdown, but the economic bubble was bound to burst.
So now we see peaceful black protesters mixed with white. Urban dwellers and suburbanites. Stand against police brutality. Racial brotherhood, that's an important thing whose time has come.
Then the sun sets and America erupts into a bacchanalia of flames. The theft of sneakers and high-end perfume. The crack of the sniper's bullet.
But that doesn't work. That delivers no justice. Not in the long run anyway. Nobody knows that better than the Motor City.
I stand here outside American Coney Island, the landmark restaurant in downtown Detroit, a week after George Floyd was murdered under the knee of a white cop.
The authorities have information that an impromptu protest will rally here. I have removed all rocks and traffic cones and motor scooters from the street should they end up through the plate glass window of the business owner whose family has made a living here for 100 years, and in return fed the homeless and supported causes to help humanity.
During the weekend's disturbance, somebody smashed the glass door of Lafayette Coney Island next door. Why? My friend Ali is the owner. Ali has never done anybody wrong.
I support protest. Petitioning for redress of one's grievances are older than the country itself. Criminal cops have to be rooted out. Full stop. No excuses. No more waiting.
I can't help but wonder when I watch the street marches here and across the county. Where are they going? To whom do they protest? They point exactly away from city hall, marching in a circle, with no real destination in mind, no real figurehead except the finger-wagger from cable news, who does not know them, or their ways of life.
They should march toward City Hall, it seems to me. Or the state house. Or the White House. Because that's where the great fleecing of American has really taken place.
Ask yourself, who is ultimately in charge of police, whether competent or criminal? The mayor.
Who gave giant tax cuts to big business and billionaires, while blowing an impossible hole in the country's debt? The president and congress.
Who's Really in Charge?
Who shut down the state's economy to protect the elderly from Covid-19, only to decree that old people with the disease should be intermixed in the nursing homes with those who don't? The governor. And while we find out Michigan has the worst death rate outside the Eastern seaboard, we still don't have a true accounting of the death toll and old people are still being mixed together.
Who took thousands from a billionaire to allow him to siphon hundreds of millions in hard-earned taxpayer dollars to develop a hole in the ground that may never come to be a skyscraper because he never truly had the financing? The city council and state legislators.
Who allowed a billionaire to pull money from the beleaguered public schools so the billionaire could have a hockey arena without sharing the revenues? City Hall and the state capital, in Lansing.
Who allowed demolition contractors to dump garbage in the holes where houses once stood, including contaminated highway dirt and in at least one case, the highway itself? City Hall.
Who allowed for the $600 million in bogus property tax assessments in Detroit while tens of thousands lost their homes to property taxes? City Hall and Wayne County.
Remember all the press conferences. They told us things were going great, and we reported it as truth. But they were never going great, especially for the working person. Not really. The numbers – the real numbers about wages, and unemployment and wealth loss and crime – should have told us that.
So now we look for leaders. And there appear to be none. Our elected representatives prefer to talk through the news shows rather than the bullhorn.
Down here in the real world, to the people lingering around the plate glass windows, I say take to the lawn of City Hall. Nothing upsets the power more than a spoiled luncheon. A group of women have organized a march on the mayoral mansion here in Detroit. That's a start. But how many actually know where the mayor lives? And as we have learned, the mayor doesn't spend a lot of time there.
I hope there's a leader out there who can keep it peaceful, someone who can funnel the rage of the masses toward some constructive end.
Because when the fake government checks come to an end, the hell will really begin.