Police spray protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration over the killing of George Floyd by a policeman outside Minneapolis Third Police Precinct on Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: AFP
The chaos that started in Minneapolis has spread across the US. More and more cities have deployed National Guard to maintain order on the street and imposed a curfew. The protests even emerged near the White House.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz publicly said, “As you saw this expand across the United States, and you start to see whether it be domestic terrorism, whether it be ideological extremists to fan the group, or whether it be international destabilization of how our country works.” Although Walz is a Democrat, he has skillfully mastered the buck-passing tactic commonly adopted by the Republican federal government. It seems that blaming others without reflecting on one’s own faults has extended beyond partisanship and become popular in US politics.
The US has long been a country with severe racial discrimination where its various powers are creating inequalities. When the economy develops well, the society has the ability to mitigate divergences. But once there is a large crisis, it is the people at the bottom who suffer most. Any single spark can start a prairie fire.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump claimed the protest outside the White House “had little to do with the memory of George Floyd” and “they were just there to cause trouble.” It is a general rule that wherever chaos expands, it will have nothing to do with the initial spark. But it is both funny and annoying to see US politicians pretend to be innocent about demonstrators taking advantage of the event to create more troubles.
The anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong last year turned extremely violent. Did the violence have anything to do with the bill? When the bill was officially withdrawn, why did the protesters still take to the street? But the US government and Congress as well as the UK simply lent a helping hand to violent demonstrations which had nothing to do with their initial objectives and praised them as a “beautiful sight to behold.” Obviously, they didn’t expect such a beautiful sight to expand so fast that it could be seen now from their own windows.
Burning police stations, smashing stores, blocking the roads, attacking police officers and destroying public facilities: All of these acts were committed as if by Hong Kong rioters who snuck into these US cities.
What follows, as the US used to direct such plays, should be that China and countries whose internal affairs the US has interfered in, release statements and support the “revolt of the American people,” call on the US government to engage in serious dialogue and negotiations with the protesters, and urge the US government to exercise restraint in trying to restore order. As for the countries which have not done this so far, Washington should be aware that it owes them a big favor.
The protests in the US are like a mirror that reflects the shame and disgrace of US politicians as well as the deep-rooted political dysfunction and chaotic values in the US. The decades-old problems have not been fixed while US politicians did not even make any efforts. The US political elites of this generation are just lazy while acting pompously and arrogantly. They are good at blaming others while lacking real political vision. They are consuming accumulated political resources.
The ongoing chaos in the US will not lead to due reflection, but will bring the practices of verbal assault and buck-passing to a new height. No matter what happens, the US will always believe its political system is the best.