Republican privilege is a hell of a drug. When the F.B.I. conducted the raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in South Florida on Monday night, some conservatives claimed it was one of the darkest days in American history. (I can think of a few days off the top of my head that were worse.) It’s as if they couldn’t fathom that the law applies to everybody and not as a tool they use to silence and interrogate those they deem inferior.
It all comes back to that concept of privilege. Privilege emboldens a former President to allegedly bring back sensitive nuclear documents back to his vacation home. It also pushes a crowd of people to go to the Capitol with violence on their minds or gives a man the audacity to attack an F.B.I. building in Ohio. Throughout this country’s history, there have always been two views of law enforcement and which community should be under its thumb – no situation better demonstrates that disparity than the reactions to this raid.
Republicans do nothing wrong (according to them) and will give every excuse in the book to display that the system is “allegedly” working against them. When Black and people of color engage in protest to ask for police accountability and to have scenarios happen where they don’t lose mothers, sisters, and fathers, they are met with teargas, riot police, and unwarranted advice to “stop putting themselves” in “those” situations.
It’s not right that there are two different responses to actual oppression and fantasy. Black people have been asking for solutions for decades about police brutality and the unjust gaze of law enforcement in their communities. Attorney General Merrick Garland had to unseal parts of the search warrant because of death threats and repeated lies that the Justice Department was conspiring against the Republican party. Black families around the country are still waiting years later for their calls for justice to be answered.
When it comes down to it, Republicans will go to any lengths to twist positions of power and slogans to fit whatever truth they believe. “Defund the police” is vilified because that would mean we would have to alter law enforcement’s relationship with white supremacy. Meanwhile, “Defund the F.B.I.” becomes a conservative rallying cry sold on t-shirts because Republicans cannot handle being under the microscope that minorities face daily. That’s the sinister side to privilege. It will allow you to walk out of the Capitol building, wave to a camera, and break presidential protocol just because you feel like it.