It’s difficult to conceptualize just how prevalent the “Blue Lives Matter” movement has become in America despite lacking the same fundamental rationality as other adjacent social revolutions. In the wild, we see glorious blue flora bloom, an array of differently blue hued fauna swim, fly, and dash around on our beautiful blue planet – but alas, evolution has yet to manifest its first blue human being. As the blue color so famously correlated with the police force is not magnificent, Avatar-esque blue skin, “blue lives” cannot possibly equate to those of black lives.
Whereas the police can straightforwardly change their wardrobe, it’s not as simple a solution for people of color. Unlike the most frequent casualties of their brutality, police officers can not only effortlessly disguise themselves, but they consciously choose their occupational paths. The fictitious foundation of the Blue Lives Matter movement equates an occupation to a racial identity, and unfairly privileges the authoritative role and rights of the police over those intrinsic to humankind. Besides undermining the plea for equality before the law and society that the Black Lives Matter movement champions, the Blue Lives Matter countermovement has fractured America under reductionist falsehoods. They perpetuate the dangerous conception that the former is an anti-police group, and that there’s an inherent trade-off between improved community-police relations, the sanctity of civil rights, and protection of law enforcement.
America has a long and painful history of police brutality. With fatality rates increasing fairly steadily since the 2000s, the number of BIPOC (i.e. Black, Indigenous, People of Color) deaths at the hands of police have reached historic highs. Observable even during the first year of the Trump Administration, police use-of-force has become the sixth-leading cause of death for young black men. Despite the frenzy surrounding the recent conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chavin for the murder of Geroge Floyd, the case stands as an exception to the norm regarding (even fatal) police brutality cases and convictions. Although police kill anywhere from 900 to 1,000 people annually, only about 1.1% of those officers are specifically charged with murder or manslaughter. Accordingly, one of the leading factors in the formulation of the Black Lives Matter movement relates to such inequalities embedded in our criminal justice system, which enforce the systematic assault on the lives of people of color in particular.
Rising in response to the Black Lives Matter movement around 2014, the “Blue Lives” revolution has deeply penetrated America’s psyche. Founded on a self-proclaimed need for the united position of law enforcement against Black Lives Matters’ goals, there stands a disconnect between the purpose of the civil rights group and the hollow nature of officers’ intentions. On top of the pitiful standards and mechanisms regulating Blue accountability, the police are already one of the most legally protected groups in our society. With ample privileges granted through court rulings in the institution’s favor, their protection is further prioritized against the everyday man through state and congressional legislation.
Following the lead of independent state bills increasing the penalties against those who harm officers, the “Protect and Serve Act of 2018” overwhelmingly passed with bipartisan support in Congress to comprehensively make offenses against law enforcement a federal crime. Placing the defense of police within a hate crime framework, it determinately equates a voluntarily chosen career path with the immutable traits of human existence. The powerful influence of the “Blue Lives” countermovement on the country’s first, greatly tone-deaf bill constitutes the undeniable privilege of others’ cries to action. Shifting the mainstream’s focus to hostilities against the police instead of those perpetrated by the police, the movement has reduced Black Lives Matters’ fight for civil rights as an all out war against law enforcement that naturally jeopardizes officers lives. This false interpretation works to discredit efforts for racial justice and produce unproportional legal protections, while further fabricating a dichotomous narrative in which the protection of black lives and police officers can never coexist.
The consequential effects of police efforts to protect themselves, justified in an era they deem to be so very life-threatening, are multidimensional. Must we not forget the images of the Charlottesville protests, where amid a sea of white supremacists the Blue Lives Matter flag waved alongside the Confederate classic. Although the conflation of a symbol posed as police pride with that of white nationalism was quickly condemned by the “Blue Lives” proponents, it’s difficult to support their position of unforseen ignorance. With an atmosphere already polluted with racial tensions, the events at Charlottesville, as well as the many similarly-stanced protests to follow, came from the continuously publicized support of the countermovement from former President Trump. Such prolonged favoritism from the leader of the free world sanctioned the conception of two sides in opposition, while bolstering the group’s patriotic representation on The World Stage.
The notion of a national “Blue Lives” identity is aided by the reimagined Thin Blue Line flag which stands as the countermovement’s emblem. The new design modifies the original, simple blue line against a plain black backing, with the most traditional American insignia of all: the American flag. Against the backdrop of our flag, any condemnation of the police is not only one against their actions or the greater institution, but of a sacred and championed American bastion. Criticisms of the police, however pushed by the Black Lives Matter movement and its supporters, consequently becomes viewed as ostensibly un-American.
Throughout the protests in support of Black Lives last summer, government conservatives formed a united front with all levels of law enforcement to forcefully stamp out the spread of citizens’ revolutionary inclinations. Growing into one of the largest civil rights protests in the nation and world, the egregious treatment of lawful protesters by authorities sworn to protect us only further fits into this skewed pattern. Although now, a year later, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in an effort to generally bolster police accountability, it has yet to be voted upon by the Senate. Realistically, even if the Act were to pass in both chambers, it’ll still take some time to truly test its efficacy against its stated purposes. Straightforwardly, the “Blue Lives Matter” movement has principally manufactured the haphazard “us vs them” narrative, which has triggered an imbalanced protection of an occupation over the fundamental rights of minorities. The “Blue Lives” within our country, and their powerful supporters, operate with such supremacy that dangerous ideologies are able to perpetually proliferate and soundly guarantee the reproduction of more fatal turmoil.