It’s wondrous, isn’t it, how the people just keep coming out? Day after day, night after night, in dozens of cities, braving a deadly virus and brutal retaliation, they continue to pack the streets in uncountable numbers, demanding equality and justice — and, finally, prompting what feels like real change.
How did this happen? How did Black Lives Matter, a hashtag-powered movement that has been building for years, bring America to what looks like a turning point?
I have a theory: The protests exploded in scale and intensity because the police seemed to go out of their way to illustrate exactly the arguments that Black Lives Matter has been raising online since 2013.
For the last two weeks, the police reaction to the movement has been so unhinged, and so well documented, that it couldn’t help but feed support for the protests. American public opinion may have tipped in favor of Black Lives Matter for good.
By “the police,” I mean not just state and municipal police across the country, but also the federal officers from various agencies that cracked down on protesters in front of the White House, as well as their supporters and political patrons, from police chiefs to mayors to the attorney general and the president himself.