There are two types of people in power.
Those who are there because they want to use power to help people without it; and those who want to use it to help only themselves.
The first kind are not afraid of protests. Sometimes they will even join them themselves. They know the truly powerful protests come from true grievances, grievances that need to be heard, and, if possible, addressed. They know that if the grievance happened on their watch, they screwed something up, and it’s up to them to fix whatever it is, not be angry or disappointed at those who feel their only resort is to turn to violence.
The second kind also know the protests come from true grievances, but they’re not interested in ever solving them. They’re only interested in keeping the power, and quashing any resistance. There is no effort of understanding, of hearing, of helping; the only effort is in subduing and pacifying.
The violence they use makes them seem strong and decisive – but in truth, they are terrified. They are afraid, because they know history is not on their side. Because they know you can’t keep the people subdued by fear alone forever, no matter how many tanks and guns you send against them.
[1st image: Ferguson police officers take the knee in memory of George Floyd/AP]
[2nd image: 1970 riots in Gdansk]