The endless protests of our time. One has to wonder how they managed to march all the way down here. Which ones? Does it even matter? It seems like being discontented, and making sure everyone else knows how discontented you are, is all the rage these days, and that rage is slowly spreading to Tehachapi.
From Golden Hills all the way to Bakersfield, banner-waving teens, tweens and park bench vagrants are waving rainbow flags and painted plywood to make sure you know, in no uncertain terms, how relevant the death of one George Floyd in Minneapolis is to your everyday Tehachapi life.
Naturally, the death of anyone anywhere is a tragedy. But I wonder why these vitriolic college students and vagabonds are so much more outraged at the loss of a man they know nothing about, who lived in a completely different part of the country, then the deaths of those in our own community?
We experience the losses of friends and family every day, yet we see no such outrage from the usual slew of cardboard banner-wavers. Could it be because the death of Mr. Floyd is a "hot topic?" Perhaps the popularity of the story is what makes this stranger's life so much more valuable and noteworthy than our own. Perhaps these hormonaly, unstable kids simply need a cause to rally around and couldn't think of anything local (probably because our crime rates are lower than my IQ score and people here are generally happy and content). Or maybe they think they're making the world a better place by standing at traffic lights and shouting bumper sticker slogans at truck drivers all night.
Either way, some of the slogans are a little disturbing to think about. "No justice, no peace?" And just what does that mean, kids? Are you trying to tell us that if that man in Minneapolis doesn't receive what you consider justice, then you'll try to hurt the peace in Tehachapi? Or that the apparent lack of "justice" in his case is somehow preventing there being peace here? Last I checked, this community was as tranquil and friendly as can be. (In other words, the polar opposite of big-city living.) I wonder, would you mighty heroes of social justice and your pink-glitter sharpies seek to end our peace of mind if the legal department of Minneapolis doesn't see things your way?
These protests, sadly, are a small yet stark reminder of what we could become if we allow our community to decline, if we neglect our kids, if we allow the big-city attitudes and sensationalism to flood into our town. But what can we do? Form protests of our own against this? No. The only solution is common sense, compassion and unity. Pay the screamers and chest-thumpers no mind, show them that our community won't be rocked or outraged by their loud yet empty words, and focus on making Tehachapi a brighter and more welcoming place than ever.
Jack Cerminaro lives in Tehachapi.