Turns Out Blue Lives Don’t Matter Either

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: The 35 officers of Recruit Officer Class #178 take the oath during the U.S. Capitol Police graduation ceremony in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium on Friday, Jan. 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Watching the Impeachment trial last week was both horrifying and heartening. I was moved to tears that a man who had just buried a child could do his job with such grace and deliberation. I was also moved to tears to see an officer of the Capitol Police crushed to death by a mob while screaming in agony. 

Very few Republicans thought that second one was at all important. It seems ‘Blue Lives’ don’t matter. 

The odd (and logically indefensible) concept of “Blue Lives Matter” has been dealt a a fatal wound by this heartless lack of any concern over the deaths and many injuries of the police who attempted to protect the Capitol from the treasonous mob bent on murdering elected officials. 

The very people who had been such loud supporters of ‘law and order’ voted to acquit the instigator of the mob, because, well – it seems that police are just expendable. The hundred-plus officers injured, the fatalities, the suicides, they don’t matter to the Republicans. They were cannon fodder. They were roadkill. 

I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sign on for the Capitol Police, for the District of Columbia Police, or the National Guard at this moment in time. Knowing you could be beaten to death with an American flag and that there would be no consequences for those who arranged your murder; there’s a recruitment tool, hm? 

Maybe this is the moment where some of those in uniform get a better understanding of where they are in the bigger picture. 

I’m thinking of the many conversations I had with Ron Kovic, the author of “Born on the Fourth of July.” If you’ve never heard of Ron, he was a Vietnam vet who came home to become a peace activist. He spent a lot of time hanging out at a bookstore I worked in. (It’s very good for book sales to have the author on site.) He particularly liked to talk to young men, the ones who looked like they might be graduating from high school, looking for what came next. He knew they were easy pickings for the recruiters, who often had a table out on the boardwalk, ready to hand a pen to someone considering signing on. As Ron delivered his wisdom seated in a wheelchair, kids had a tendency to listen to him. 

The hypocrisy of the Republicans has actual laws providing both a frame and a spotlight. An Executive Order signed in July protecting monuments and memorials, intended by the Republicans to punish anyone pulling down Confederate statues, can now be used to prosecute those who smashed windows in the Capitol building.  

Some 30 police officers from 12 states are under investigation for their participation in the insurrection. As many as 15 Capitol Police officers are also under investigation for their actions during the insurrection. I can’t begin to start to attempt to understand whose lives matter to them. 

While I expect for there to be a very complete and detailed follow-up on the real villains of January 6th, from the Department of Justice and the FBI, my heart really hurts for those officers who thought that keeping the peace was a respectable job, only to find out they were classified as collateral damage. 

What is heartening is that we still have a democracy, and that our now-functioning government can get on with addressing the actual crises confronting us. 

But that “Blue Lives” slogan? Done. 

Judith Martin-Straw

Photo Credit – United States Capitol Police 

 

 

 

 

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