“…These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” – @therealDonaldTrump, 5/29/20

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Given the unprecedented explosion in public protest and civil disobedience, I believe it is paramount that the citizens of this country are reminded of our shared interests in the common good. Regardless of ethnicity, color, or creed, we should stand united in our efforts to protect the most sacred of our values and aspirations. Accordingly, I would like to formally denounce the rioting and looting, and shift the focus of this tragedy from the murder of an American citizen at the hands of the police to the true victims of systemic oppression, community disenfranchisement, and hateful violence: big box chain stores.

As you watch the horrifying activity of these nefarious actors on the news, I urge you to ask yourself: why are we desecrating aisle after aisle of beautiful household items, assorted electronics, and food items required by families to survive a drowning economy amidst a global pandemic, simply to dismantle an oppressive, murderous, pseudo-fascist ideology? Have you ever considered that the air purifier you’re holding has feelings about being robbed of its place on a beautiful, fluorescent-lit shelf with all of its friends? Isn’t that destroying a community as well?

We must preserve and protect our monoliths of affordable bathroom linens and LED TVs as much if not more than entire classes of people being actively targeted by branches of law enforcement solely for the color of their skin. For every stainless steel ice-cream scooper, heated orthopedic neck pillow, or adjustable shoe rack that can’t be paid for at a mark-up, we perpetuate a society of violent disenfranchisement unknown to most citizens in their day to day life.

America is bigger than this. We’re the nation of equal treatment under the law for most people, but more for value-size boxes of cereals and portable electric fans. We’re the nation that ended slavery, well after the rest of the world, and now we just call it “working.” We’re very sorry we murdered your beloved son and community member, but please, put that mattress back where you found it. Also, the killer get’s paid leave. We’re sorry about that too.

There are other outlets for civil disobedience that don’t require hostility towards gardening tools, laundry detergent, or area rugs. We have free and fair elections that minorities often can’t vote in due to gerrymandering. You can have your day in high court, in front of a 31-year-old conservative justice recently rammed through the confirmation process who believes you are not a legitimate citizen. And if worst comes to worst, our for-profit criminal justice system will ensure that you are jailed indefinitely for an action that has been decriminalized in most states. None of this requires collectively losing our civility and understanding towards one another, and wrongly dispossessing an enormous corporate entity of some flushable wipes for your infant child.

Now more than ever, we must come together and realize that the things we buy bind us; that there is no greater sin to our fellow American than being inconvenienced; and that the ugliest forces in our society manifest when we focus on the atrocious crimes of hate being committed against our fellow citizens every day, instead of the boxes of Cheez-Its and Q-tips being ruthlessly extricated from our temples of commerce.

Protect our products, for when we lose sight of true injustice, consequences will follow.