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Blubaugh: Instead of counterarguments, stats and agendas, what about listening?

It’s been amazing and amusing over the past 3 1/2 years the way supporters of President Trump react when he is criticized. Rarely do they cite anything about his record. Instead, it’s all about obfuscating. Changing the subject.

But what about Obama? What about Nancy Pelosi? What about Hillary?

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Fine. Point conceded. But it’s irrelevant to what we’re talking about right now. Can we please focus on that?

Equally amazing, though not at all amusing, is the way conversations about racial injustice are derailed by the same whataboutism. Too many, usually white people, refuse to even consider the issues in front of them, choosing to turn or shut down discussion. So many examples.

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· George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department ignited a welcome restart to the conversation about racial injustice in this country. Floyd is, to some, a hero or a martyr, but certainly he is at least a catalyst. But what about his criminal record? And what about Candace Owens, who is black and doesn’t think Floyd is a hero or a martyr?

· The George Floyd video clearly shows a policeman snuffing the life out of a man as three others watched, bringing up painful memories of far too many similar acts. But what about the stats showing that more white people than black people are killed by police and the stats showing black men commit more crimes? Besides, charges have been filed against the cops so justice has been served.

· Protest rallies and marches began in Minneapolis and spread out across the country, with fed-up black people leading the way and joined by supportive people of all races. But what about the riots? The looting and the violence? Peaceful protests are one thing, but this?

· Black lives matter. But what about my life? Shouldn’t all lives matter?

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Come on, folks. Isn’t it possible that maybe now’s the time to hold onto your opinions and counterarguments and statistics and, instead, pay a little attention?

· Yes, George Floyd made some mistakes in his life. Who cares? He was being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill and wound up dead. Zero justification. As for those sharing the Owens YouTube video, she’s a conservative commentator who is entitled to her opinion but doesn’t speak for an entire race any more than Bill Cosby, whose videos used to be so widely shared by white people, did.

· Yes, more white people are killed by police than black people and black men are disproportionately convicted of violent crimes. But based on population, the proportion of whites killed to blacks should be far higher. And you have to wonder about convictions when you see disturbing videos like the white woman in the New York park calling the cops on a black man doing nothing but birdwatching, accusing him of crimes. With no recording of this incident, what might’ve happened? And how often has it happened to black people accused by whites? Finally, being charged in Floyd’s death is a whole lot different from being brought to justice given the way the court system has traditionally treated situations like this.

· Yes, there has been violence and damage in some cities. It’s tragic whenever someone is hurt or killed, or a business is destroyed. But a high percentage of these acts were committed or provoked by outsiders on various points of the political spectrum and as for the rest, well, this has been building for a long time. And keep in mind, many who pay lip service to peaceful protests don’t actually condone them. Or have you forgotten Colin Kaepernick & Co. and how so many swore off the NFL because of the “disrespect" they were showing to flag and country?

· Yes, of course, all lives matter. But responding to the cry of “black lives matter” with “all lives matter” is exactly why nothing ever gets accomplished. The Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t mean ONLY black lives matter. It’s more of a reminder that black lives matter, TOO. Don’t worry, your life is still important. Just remember that black lives are also important. Far too many throughout history, and even today, haven’t necessarily felt that way.

We’re in the midst of what seems like it could actually be a real turning point. Sure, you can choose to obfuscate, ignore, turn the conversation and focus on your own agenda.

On the other hand — and how’s this for a what about? — what about listening, for a change?

Bob Blubaugh is the editor of the Carroll County Times. His column appears Sundays. Email him at bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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