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Movement culture 

I've been thinking a lot about social movements, which seem like bowel movements. Pressure builds up until release is imminent, and then shit hits the fan ... for a while. Maybe the pressure was caused by Taco Bell's Chalupa Supreme® or may be by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Suddenly people are in the streets, screaming for change. The politicians offer up pathetic hopes and prayers but nothing substantive, and the protests eventually die off until pressure builds up again over some other issue.

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Civil Rights, LGBTQ-plus rights, Occupy Wall Street, Climate Change, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo—each has been a hot stream release bursting from the social inequity pipeline, and each petered out without systemic improvement of the status quo. Talk about disheartening!

Why can't we make real progress? Why can't we get our leaders to enact the people's will? Is it because politicians are bought and paid for by rich people and corporations? Is it because we've been expertly pitted against one another in a tribal chess game that tells liberal to hate conservative and straight to hate gay and blue to hate black and white to hate brown?

Are we protesting for real change or engaging in the protest du jour, jumping on whatever the current outrage trend is so we have an excuse to attack those who we think are different though more likely we have more in common with than we have in common with the elites who manipulate us?

Today's version of "thoughts and prayers" is President Trump's proclamation, "I don't like chokeholds." Does that mean we can expect a federal law forbidding them? Don't hold your breath. Law enforcement will do it for you.

The sad truth is we have no constructive mechanism built into our society to enact meaningful changes quickly, to actually transform police standard operating procedures, to create effective gun laws, to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth, to stop a rogue president from dismantling environmental laws, to protect the rights of the marginalized, and put teeth into anti-discrimination laws.

Bigotry defined is "intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices," and let's face it: We're all guilty of that. You want real change? It starts with listening and understanding, compromising and building coalitions, engaging in the long-game of politics at the local level—all the really hard, boring stuff that's not as fun as waving signs and screaming in the streets or dropping the cancel-culture bomb on someone with a different opinion on social media.

The current local online kerfuffle is over Sally Loo's Wholesome Café—more specifically the owner, Jennifer Fullarton, who posted the widely disseminated aerial photo of BLM protesters by the SLO County Government Center, which had been posted by SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon on her Instagram account. In Sally Loo's owner @jenniferalexandria's Instagram share, the banner "#MEDIAISOFFICIALLYRULINGOURLIVES" was added to the image.

Another Instagram user took the bait and personal-messaged Fullarton, seeking her opinion on the BLM protests and basically saying she'd prefer to support businesses that agree with her stance on social issues. Fair enough, right?

Well, Fullarton—a self-described Christian—first told her she could take her business elsewhere, and then she used parts of their private conversation on another post, this one seemingly attacking BLM, which unleashed a biblical flood of negative responses. Fullarton disabled comments on her posts and went silent over the weekend, returning with a long semi-apology, which went off the rails when she explained her problem with BLM:

"BLM's inclusion of [LGBTQ-plus] communities is not something I have an issue with, but rather the organization's goal to nullify the two-parent family—something that, based on experience, the testimonies of others, and statistics, I believe to be a detriment to all communities."

Yeah, how dare BLM normalize single-parent families or, as their passage actually reads, "support each other as extended families." Good grief, lady! BLM isn't trying to break up traditional nuclear families. They're trying to make all families welcome—however they may be constructed. Just say you were wrong and move on.

Fullarton exercised her First Amendment right, which unfortunately for her cuts both ways. People told her why they disagreed.

Knowing when to keep your mouth shut is a real skill. Take SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, for instance. In the wake of a Paso Robles murder and the shooting of Sheriff's Deputy Nick Dreyfus by a purportedly mentally disturbed gunman, Parkinson suggested a tie to the BLM protests during a June 10 press conference.

"There kind of has been this general theme floating around the nation right now, this rise up anti-law enforcement coalition it seems, and so all we can surmise at this point is that this was a, again, an unprovoked attack on officers simply doing their job in the community."

Surmise, eh? The problem is Parkinson's dangerous conjecture gins up anti-protester sentiments. Remember, we did have a few heavily armed dudes on Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach rooftops during a recent protest to ostensibly "protect" local businesses from BLM protestors.

At this point, there's no evidence the gunman was connected to BLM. Parkinson's feelers are hurt because people are fed up with unnecessary police violence and don't appreciate how hard law enforcement's job is.

Actually, we get it. You don't have to tear gas protesters to prove it. Δ

The Shredder never shuts up. Send comments and suggestions to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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