The Rock: Where is our compassionate leader at this difficult moment?

Does he mean Trump, or is he referring to some hypothetical social leader in the MLK mold? He can’t possibly mean Trump.

Somewhere right now Trump’s asking Bill Barr to show him where Antifa headquarters is on a map so that he can drop a MOAB on it. He doesn’t do “compassion,” he does “strength.”

Or at least he talks about it a lot.

His advisors should be nudging him to highlight this story at every opportunity. If he can’t bring himself to be a force for social reconciliation, especially if it means demanding that America’s police behave better, he should at least focus on the very real harm being done by the degenerates who are looting businesses.

The first one hit about 4 a.m. on Sunday, when four people smashed the glass door of a clothing store in this predominantly black neighborhood and made off with armfuls of merchandise. About 12 hours later, looters emptied out a corner pharmacy and set fire to the uniform shop next door. Several more businesses were victimized in the wee hours of Monday morning, including a jewelry store where thieves broke into glass cases and stole about $200,000 of goods.

By the time the roughly 24-hour spree was over, dozens of businesses in this half-mile stretch of 52nd Street in West Philadelphia were damaged, including a day care, a tax-preparation store and a seller of hijabs.

Buildings were boarded up. Decades of work was destroyed. Some owners were wiped out, unsure if they could make next month’s rent. Businesses that had been gearing up for revival, after weeks of forced closure due to the coronavirus, were facing the prospect of months before they could open their doors, if ever.

Just 11 percent of small businesses in mostly black neighborhoods operate on profit margins of greater than 15 percent, notes the Journal. Many small businesses aren’t insured against rioting. When they’re looted and forced to close, they may stay closed. One business owner in the Philly neighborhood told the paper that he and his family worked seven-day weeks for 20 years to make their clothing store viable. The business was raided and partially burned a few nights ago. “I built it up,” he said. “And it’s gone. My life is gone.”

The neighborhood’s economy will deteriorate, of course. Black residents will suffer. No one should weep if a few looters get shot in the act tonight.

But that’s different from saying that the U.S. military should be doing the shooting, of course.

“Cotton’s eagerness to use the military in this way reflects both his own horrible judgment and his knee-jerk, hard-line approach to every security problem,” said Daniel Larison of Cotton’s — and Trump’s — interest in invoking the Insurrection Act. Which is ironic, as Trump distinguished himself as a candidate in the 2016 primary by harshly criticizing the Iraq war, another problem that ultimately couldn’t be solved by an application of an American military force. You would think he might apply that same lesson to civil unrest here. Although, as I think more about it, there’s probably no contradiction: For Trump, any failure can be explained in terms of “weakness.” That’s probably how he views Iraq too — once we were there, we just weren’t tough enough. He once famously scolded the Soviet Union for failing to show the same ruthlessness towards internal dissent in its waning days as the Chinese did in Tiananmen Square, 31 years ago today. Go figure that American military leaders are nervous about what he might have in mind by sending American soldiers into the streets to confront a mix of rioters, looters, and law-abiding demonstrators.

His latest tweet as I write this features an excited link to an open letter from former Trump lawyer John Dowd to James Mattis, in which Dowd refers to the peaceful protesters who were cleared out of Lafayette Park on Monday as “terrorists.” That’s the mentality The Rock is engaging with here when he calls for compassion. As for the clip. sneer at it if you like but this dude is obviously a figure of some cultural influence. He has 185 million — no typo — Instagram followers. This clip has been viewed 10.5 million times as I write this and counting.

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