Black Lives Matter & All Lives Matter Both Get it Wrong

In recent months, we have been inundated with chants of “Black lives matter!” and “All lives matter!” from their respective crowds. Each side passionately proclaims the truth of their statements not so much in an effort to convince the other side, but to garner the most attention from onlookers. The guiding principle appears to be “loudest is best”, and that doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.

Can we take a step back, though?

The very idea that we must chant these phrases says much about how we’ve regressed. There is something infantile about repeating them over and over, as if we only recently came to the realization that they’re true. The lives that are said to matter didn’t suddenly gain their worth once the movements began, and repeating the phrases does not reaffirm them. Indeed, black lives matter. Are black lives sometimes taken by police? Yes. But black lives are also taken by blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos and others who are non-law enforcement. Writer Jason Riley, an African-American, wondered about the motivations of those like Al Sharpton a year ago, while in the very midst of the Ferguson turmoil:

Jason Riley, an African-American editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal, criticized the Rev. Al Sharpton’s appearance in Ferguson, Mo. “The problem is not cops shooting blacks but blacks shooting each other,” he asserted. Yet “so-called black leaders are much more interested in making excuses for this behavior than they are in denouncing it unequivocally.”

The same goes for the “All Lives Matter” crowd, those whose sometimes angry insistence that no, we all matter, comes across as an attempt to silence the other side more than anything. Is it so impossible to confirm that yes, law enforcement should be held responsible for their actions like the rest of us, and that their motivations are sometimes incorrect? I’ve seen some say that police should never be questioned, because they are police. Still others have said that law enforcement should never be trusted. Both of these viewpoints err on the side of feelings and contribute nothing of value to the conversation. And unfortunately, both are undercurrents in the BLM and ALM movements.

Furthermore, it’s difficult to chant any mantra about lives mattering when we have those such as Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, refuting the truth of videos which show her organization’s practices and the slaughter in which they engage. Lives matter? Oh yes, they do. But not these unborn lives. Let’s look past all that and focus on the post-birth souls, but really, only the ones gunned down by police. How choosy can we get? Only a portion of a portion of lives are what we should be fighting for?

Presidential candidates, from both sides of the aisle, have had no luck when attempting to join in the conversation. Both Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] and Democrat Martin O’Malley have been harshly criticized by the BLM movement for even uttering the “All lives matter!” phrase in an attempt to appeal to…all. When we reach the point where using all doesn’t even cut it, then the entire “_____ Lives Matter” fad isn’t worth our time. What may have started as properly questioning those who have sworn to enforce our laws has turned into parody itself. The goal now from both groups is to just shout louder than the rest.

Those of us on both sides with common sense know that lives matter regardless of color, uniform worn, economic status, etc. Do we really need a specific movement for each when said movements are unnecessary and replacing constructive discourse in the first place? I don’t think so.