I recently wrote a column about how “American politics has become a matter of simple amplification.” This week, Lia McGeever vividly made this point at the San Francisco Board of Advisers by choosing to simply scream into a mike as her statement on a recent case. The Board has nothing to do with the case, but McGeever wanted the cathartic moment. Nothing says the age of rage as much as a primal scream session in a public board meeting.
The Board is one of the most liberal in the country and is currently working on a massive reparations proposal to pay black residents up to $5 million each for past racism (California was a free state).
McGeever, however, begins by heaping insults on the Board as reactionary and craven:
“I live in [District 6]. I hate a lot of people on this board… for the reasons that led up to Banko Brown’s death. So, often I prepare something — maybe it’s a little historical, may even be a little poetic, whatever. There’s a lot of performative people on this board who will say one thing and support Black people, homeless people, trans people, and then immediately stab you in the face — being racist, transphobic, anti-homeless.
So I don’t have any words prepared today. I just want you to feel our pain. I don’t know if you can at this point, based off your policy choices, but I have to pretend you have some form of empathy left. So, I am going to spend the next minute screaming cause that is what is going on in here.”
She then give a prolonged, blood-curdling scream and added “That is what the trans genocide in this country, in this city, has brought me to.”
No, that is what an age of rage has brought all of us to. This entire scream session was due to San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announcing that her office would not prosecute Michael-Earl Wayne Anthony, a Walgreens security guard responsible for the shooting death of Banko Brown, a Black member of the transgender community. Jenkins declared that “the evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense.”
Our politics is now reduced to a collective scream session with zero content beyond pure unadulterated rage.
As I noted earlier, this trend was previously captured by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) who is shown on videotape screaming about gun control in the Capitol as his colleagues left the floor following a vote. When Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked Bowman to stop yelling, Bowman shouted back: “I was screaming before you interrupted me” — which could go down as the epitaph for our age.
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Activists act, they are not philosophers.
Thinking is detrimental to activism.