Everyone reading this newspaper agrees that black lives matter.

(I’d be surprised if our readership included racists, which are already few and far between in our tolerant state and probably not diligent newspaper readers.)

John Balentine, a former managing editor for the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.

But I’d venture another guess that fewer readers would as enthusiastically support the group known as Black Lives Matter after visiting its website.

The concept that “black lives matter” and the multinational organization, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, are two strikingly different things.

The concept is something with which we can all agree and champion. However, the group, formed in 2013, has seemingly allied with Big Government types who have crowded out the group’s primary message of fighting anti-black racism.

A visit to the national BLM website (www.BlackLivesMatter.com) and the Portland, Maine, chapter’s Facebook page (BLMPortlandME) are quite revealing. Let’s start with the national group’s website. Here are a few items from its “What We Believe” section:

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

“We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”

“Every day, we recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.”

“We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.”

Why use psychobabble and words the average person doesn’t understand? And what do these tenets have to do with fighting racism? Also, why attack the nuclear family, the bedrock of sound societies the world over? And why continually use the favored term of Communists everywhere, “comrade?”

Turning to the group’s Portland chapter, here is a partial list of demands presented earlier this month to state and local leaders:

“Defund police. Defund prisons and jails. Divest from fossil fuels. Rent freeze for all. Housing for all. Health care for all. Education for all.”
“Move jail, prison, and police funds to schools, jobs and social services.”
“Close Long Creek Youth Development Center.”
“Refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.”
“Refuse any cooperation with federal immigration authorities.”
“Retroactively decriminalize all drug and prostitution-related offenses.”
“Amend the state constitution to allow the expungement of criminal records.”
“Reparations for the failed war on drugs and criminalization of prostitution.”
“Enact real, meaningful and equitable universal health care.”
“Create a meaningful state constitutional right to fully funded education.”
“Divest from industrial use of fossil fuels, including removing oil storage tanks.”
“Remove police from all school budgets.”

Mainers reading these demands, I imagine, are stunned by their sheer revolutionary magnitude. Many are probably also left wondering how these proposals, if enacted, would convert remaining racists. It makes me wonder who diverted the group from its original intentions of trying to improve race relations and standing up for black pride.

The group’s goals are also just plain ironic. If BLM feels the government – especially police departments and housing agencies – have been and still are against them, why are they demanding additional government programs?

Instead of calling for blacks (and everyone else) to be more dependent and reliant on the government, BLM should demand more freedom. That’d solve many social ills, not just racism.

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