Why would an American politician take a knee as protesters chant “take a knee” or publish a picture of them taking a knee to social media?
There are only two reasons: performative wokeness or performative weakness.
There is a difference, but every single time some sad white politician thinks he or she can quiet a mob or show solidarity by taking a knee they are sadly mistaken.
That never appears to be the goal. This appears to be about pandering acquiescence and nothing more.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, a public official of one of the most progressive non-college towns in the state, took a knee at a “mostly peaceful protest.”
According to Battle, he was attempting to show he supported the protest to keep his community safe.
“You know, I walked up and they said ‘kneel with me,'” Battle said on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.” “I didn’t know if they wanted to pray or if they wanted to kneel, but I was fine with it. You know, there’s no pride in this thing. The pride is getting through the event and getting through it with our community intact and without shots being fired and without windows being broken. If it takes kneeling, I’ll kneel to try to make sure our community is safe.”
That is performative wokeness.
When asked about the chants and demands that cops kneel at this same protest, Battle said he never saw that and felt there was no need for it from Huntsville police.
“They kept saying, ‘They need to kneel, they need to kneel.’ There wasn’t a need for them to kneel. They were standing there doing their job and they were standing there as a blue line in front of everybody to make sure people were safe,” Battle explained.
They did not kneel.
But some cops have taken a knee.
Either way, Mayor Battle can support their cause and be a part of it. He can, and does, support the removal of the Confederate memorial on Madison County Courthouse grounds but these protesters still wanted an image of him on his knees.
They got it.
Did he get what he wanted?
Tear gas was needed, rocks were thrown, rioters went to another part of the city, and attempted to attack a shopping center.
So it is now performative weakness on Battle’s part. We will see how it plays out at the next scheduled protest in Huntsville on Wednesday.
Nationally, Joe Biden visited a church in Delaware and took this photo:
Now, this is performative wokeness!
Mask on tight, even though it was off earlier in the visit. Biden centered in the photo, down on one knee, while black leaders stand behind him.
It might as well be this episode of “South Park,” where a main character attempts to atone for a racial slur by kissing Jesse Jackson’s backside (it didn’t work).
Joe Biden is doing whatever he needs to win an election, nothing more.
That is performative wokeness.
When it comes to a politician or any other figure being cajoled to take a knee in solidarity with protesters, it can only be a sign of performative wokeness or performative weakness. Those are the only options.
Americans do not want their leaders “taking a knee” to anyone. They want strength and someone who stands tall.
As cities burn and threats to businesses and communities remain, the last thing people want is the appearance of wokeness from their leaders and they definitely don’t want weakness.
That’s what this is.
Whether you like Trump or not, walking out to a burned church after ordering a park cleared of a disruptive element is a statement of power and leadership.
The media hates this. They wanted Trump trapped in the White House while they cheerlead for chaos and carnage.
They all want Trump to look weak, but he is engaging in performative strength.
The question is about what Americans want from leaders.
Americans want more strength, more law and order, less violence and a sense of normalcy.
Trump has to deliver this, not with words and photo ops but in action, too.
Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.