Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Black Lives Matter vs. Elvis

AP-Memphis, Tenn.

As Elvis Week draws to a close, this city lets loose a giant sigh of relief that no violence broke out despite the promises from the Black Lives Matter organization to, "shut down Graceland." Several news media outlets had hyped the possible confrontation between the fledgling civil rights organization and the tens of thousands of Elvis Presley fans who gather here each year to commemorate the singer's death. Instead, a few hundred protesters gathered outside the entrance to Graceland and peacefully spoke to this reporter about how Elvis is the perfect symbol of what is wrong with white America.

Kareem Lewis, local BLM spokesman, explained that although he owned a couple of Elvis records himself and actually "kinda liked his sound," Elvis still was nothing more than an "appropriating rich white cracker."

Reporter: But why Graceland? Why come to Memphis?

Lewis: Well, one, for the money...two, for the show.

Reporter: Money? I don't understand.

Lewis: Read the paper, son! Didn't you hear that we just scored 100 million in cash from guilty white liberals up north? For that kind of money, we gotta put on a show! You know..a little less conversation, a little more action, dog.

Reporter: I have noticed that this demonstration has been remarkably peaceful...

Lewis: That was our theme for the week...don't be cruel.

While the Black Lives Matters protesters were on their best behavior, part of the peace was insured by a massive police presence in the area surrounding the Graceland compound. This reporter has never seen so many policemen in one place in all of my time in Memphis. Police seemed to outnumber the protesters by at least two to one. I asked Captain Goudol Beau about the overwhelming police presence...

Reporter: Captain Beau, for such a small demonstration, this sure seems like a lot of cops...

Captain Beau: This ain't all of them neither, we've got another 100 officers positioned in case there's trouble.

Reporter: Where?

Captain Beau: the ghetto.

Reporter: What would you say to people who might call this a provocative overreaction?

Captain Beau: I would say that they have...suspicious minds. You know, the people of Memphis are an easy going bunch. We can put up with a lot. You can burn our house, steal our car. Hell, you can even drink our liquor from an old fruit jar! I mean, you can do anything you want to do to us...just don't mess with Elvis.

Reporter: Well Captain Beau, I must congratulate you and your men for the tremendous restraint you have shown today.

Captain Beau: A very wise man once said...only fools rush in.

I thought that Kareem Lewis might have a different perspective on police behavior so I asked him whether his people had been treated well.

Lewis: You know, I've got to admit that these Memphis pigs have been alright. I mean, we were expecting them to knock us down, stomp on our face...slander our name all over the place. We all figured by now we would be all shook up. But it's like we've got a good luck charm or something.

So, after a very long, hot and violent summer, the nation finally experiences a peaceful civil rights demonstration in the Deep South. In Memphis there were no burning grocery stores, just burning love.
Perhaps there's hope that race relations will thaw. Perhaps there won't be a blue Christmas after all.