Monday, Bobby Jindal held a prayer rally for fallen police officers at the state capital. It’s one of those things that I brush off as thinking, yeah, it’s a dumb stunt with distinct problems understanding the separation of church and state and it’s just another stunt to kindle Jindal’s presidential campaign, but hey, it’s dead cops. Few want to roll their eyes memorializing dead police, because they’re public servants performing a necessary service who died in the line of duty. It is obviously a dog whistle to anyone with sense, because it’s a nodding acknowledgement of the myth of the current war on cops. Louisiana actually has had a higher percentage of police deaths than anywhere else in the U.S. though, so I can see why a normal conservative who thinks praying works would want this event. It’s still not helping your poll numbers much in New Hampshire and Iowa, Bobby.
Last night I saw a tweet from skooks about how Jindal’s butler is a convict. He was denied a request for parole. Okay… peculiar.
Then a local journalist replied to that tweet:
That gives me a very bad feeling, Jindal’s all about cost-cutting, but this seems creepy. Most of us see and know how often prisoners are used for labor, but the pieces are falling into place disturbingly. There’s debate about how prisoners are being used as labor too frequently, that it’s beginning to feel less like a penal system and more like a resource for free labor. Here’s an article in the American Prospect titled, Modern-Day Slavery in America’s Prison Workforce.
Now we pivot to another uncomfortable truth that’s being discussed a lot in the wave of police abuse, especially in the lethal violence against unarmed people of color. Modern police in America evolved from patrols of slave catchers.
I have two friends who are state troopers. I have family in Chicago who are cops. I apologize if I’ve used this disclaimer before. Hell, I had a local cop let my kid play with his dogs in the park this weekend. He was extremely cool. I’m fond of many local cops who handled some incidents around where I work, as they worked with humanity, dignity, and grace. I’ve seen them go out of their way to protect children and keep them out of trouble.
However, all of this police worship, especially in Louisiana, is disconcerting when taken in context with government supplemented by a labor force made up people they captured and incarcerated. I really don’t like where this is going.