BLM, Distraction By Design

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Like millions of Americans, I get up and I go to work. I worry about bills. I take care of life stuff and I look after family stuff. And like most of you, I’ve had my fill of nasty and ignorant, 2016 politics and the other garbage and gibberish our networks pass off as news.

But alas, I have an escape. For a few hours every week for five or six months a year, I watch NFL football. I watch my beloved New England Patriots and for a little while I pretend ISIS and Syria and politics and BLM and a hundred other things that I suppose are of some sort of necessary or perhaps unnecessary evil don’t exist. I pretend the world is right and life is good. It may only last for a couple of hours, but it’s my escape. It’s a good place for me to go to heal and regain my sanity before taking a leap back into reality.

That is, it “was” my escape until an attention-seeking, punk, a has-been superstar who lost his starting position to somebody better than him, decided he needed to find a way to get the spotlight shining back on his sulking little face. So, with one disrespectful stunt, he brought the bad world that has no business in my football world right into the center of my good place. And he took the national anthem ceremony that usually focused on our flag, and the teams and mostly the person singing the song, into a three-minute, ‘Look at me be a Dink show’. Well, he got his way and the media, being what it is, dove face first into the fray.

So, with that said, (since I have no choice in the matter) I will stop ignoring it and I will tell you the truth about BLM and the likes. But first, a short story.

There once was a factory that not only had one accident every day, but it had nearly the same accident every day. Each and every day, at least one of the workers slipped and fell and went to the nurse’s station with a broken elbow, a cracked head or a twisted knee. And each day the nurse tended their injury and sent a report to management. Well it didn’t take long for management to decide the accidents were a definite problem. So, they sent out flyers and had meetings and told everyone in the factory to be more careful because the injuries had become the big problem over the past few months. In fact they demanded everyone to be safer. Despite all of their clamoring and demanding, the accidents persisted. After a few weeks one of the injured workers mentioned that perhaps the accidents and the injuries were not the problem. He believed his painful injury was caused by the problem, which is not the same as being the problem.

So management investigated the accidents and quickly decided the worker was correct. The problem was there was a puddle of water in the middle of a main walkway where all the employees walked. Without hesitation they decided the puddle was the real problem, not the injuries. So they stopped focusing on the accidents and began focusing on the water. They put up large signs that read, “Wet Floor” and they mopped the floor every few hours, but even though the frequency of accidents reduced, they continued to happen. Management was baffled. Even with the focused efforts they hadn’t solved the problem.

First they thought the injuries were the problem, but they were incorrect. Then they thought the water was the problem, but again they seemed to be incorrect. The same injured worker was consulted again and this time he pointed out that perhaps the water was not the problem after all. Just like the injury, the water on the floor was caused by the problem, but it was not actually the problem.

He took the management team to the water puddle on the floor and looked up towards the ceiling of the warehouse and said, “There’s your problem.” As it turned out, as painful as the injuries were, they were not the problem. And as dangerous as the puddle of water was, the water on the floor was not the problem. The problem was the dripping pipe hanging twenty feet in the air.

“Call a plumber and your problem will be solved,” is what the limping worker said as he moved through the puddle.

So… how is any of this relevant to all the BLM hoopla?

BLM and their supporters would have you believe the problem is young black men are getting fatally shot far too often. The truth is, like the injuries in the factory, young black men getting shot is a very serious and a bad thing, but it is the result of a problem. It’s not the actual problem.

BLM would then have you believe young black men are being targeted because they are living in poverty, which often leads to crime. They are teaching the masses the problem is two fold. Problem one is the shootings. Problem two is poverty. While both of these are again very serious and very bad, they are still not the problem. Just like the injuries and the puddle of water, the shootings and poverty are horrible, but they are products of the problem.

So, what is the dripping pipe causing all the turmoil? What is at the root of poverty and violence? The answer (not the solution) is simple. It is the lack of good paying jobs for a huge portion of America, especially Black America.

Not too many years ago, candidate Obama made big promises on how he was going to bring meaningful change to everyone, and especially to Black America and he proclaimed was going to create real jobs and businesses opportunities in their communities. He was going to turn this country around.

In fairness to our current President, it was pretty much the same promise President Bush made and President Clinton made before him. And as each of them left or will leave office, Black America continues to find themselves buried neck deep in poverty waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. (It’s worth noting how often our Presidents brag about creating 150,000 or 200,000 jobs per month and fail to mention that the jobs are $10 an hour jobs. Not even close to good enough pay to properly support a person, never mind a family).

I’m sorry to say there’s one even more level to examine and it’s the worst level of all.

It turns out the lack of good paying jobs is the result of a bigger problem. The problem is that every modern day president promises to create good paying jobs, especially for poor Americans, but…. pay attention now…. THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO IT. In fact, they don’t have a damn clue of how to do it. It seems that promising good paying jobs is much easier to do than creating good paying jobs. In the end, they are as clueless as you and I of how to solve this serious problem. Their promises are just campaign tools and nothing more.

So what do I think of BLM and the absurd stance the punk in San Francisco is taking? Well, maybe a movie line sums it up best.

“You’re job is to be a distraction so people forget what their real problems are.” Haymitch Abernathy, The Hunger Games

Maybe the root of the problem is we keep electing leaders who do not have any idea of how to fulfill their promise of creating good paying jobs for American workers. These days they can’t even manage to keep the good paying jobs we already have from leaving our country, never mind create new ones.

The rest of it is just a distraction to keep the masses from noticing how inept our leaders are. The publicity that BLM is getting is a distraction and nothing more. God forbid we all take notice that America is not getting better and is not likely to get better any time soon. God forbid anyone would take note that the Chicago or St Louis or Detroit or neighborhoods from dozens of other cites that were dirt poor when Regan was President were still poor when he left office. And they were still poor after Bush I and just as poor after Clinton left office and remained poor after Bush II left office. And yes, I’m sorry to break the news to the poor Black communities, you’re just as poor with President Obama leaving town as you were when all the others left. He stirred the pot and got cities burning. He flamed the fire of hate, but he didn’t solve the problem. He didn’t create the good paying jobs that yet another Presidential candidate promised. What he focused on was the results of not having those jobs, but like he predecessors, he didn’t create good paying jobs for Black America or anyone else.

I’m sorry to say I do not have a solution, but then again, I never said I did. I didn’t make any false promises. I was just trying to watch some football and escape from reality 2016 for a couple hours a week.

As for the punk on the 49ers? He wasn’t an activist when he was a high school star. He was not an activist when he was a college superstar. He was not even an activist when he was an self-absorbed, bicep kissing, self-worshipping, filthy rich NFL superstar. But when his career began to slip and the spotlight was not shining on him any longer… well, don’t ya know all of a sudden he’s worried about the oppressed masses to such a degree that he would do almost anything to get the camera back on him so he could stand in the limelight and share his message of oppression.

To be blunt, there are millions of us who believe this is nothing more than a self-serving publicity stunt. We’re not buying it.

Now, if it’s not too much trouble would someone tell the NFL and ESPN and the networks that we would like to get back to watching some football without all these absurd distractions, please. We can watch CNN and FOX after the game if we feel the need to be depressed and frustrated again.

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B.M. Simpson

About B.M. Simpson

B.M. Simpson was born and raised in rural Maine. He joined the Air Force at the age of 18 and lived and moved across the U.S. and Europe. After leaving the military, he spent years living and working in the Caribbean. On the islands of Anguilla, St. Kitts and Grand Cayman, he discovered a passion for island life and formed friendships second to none. After more than 20 years of writing songs, poems and short stories, he wrote his first full-length novel, Island Dogs, A Caribbean Tale of Friendship.