During my recent trip to Peoria, I drove to buy beer and when I parked in the supermarket lot, saw the sign above. I’ve seen similar signs from time to time. And they drive me crazy. First, we live in an era with significant protest against police brutality and racism. Peoria has shared in those problems to no small extent. But how are we to even begin dealing with this if the police are not just valued members of the community, but actually superheroes? How can we criticize superheroes for beating the hell of a black kid on the street? They are superheroes?
Second, there’s the entire notion of a superhero. This all started with the military fetishization that came out of the military’s inability to meet recruitment numbers during the Iraq War’s once young people realized they might actually get killed if they joined up. The propaganda that came out of that, including the relationship with the NFL, has significantly polarized opinions on the military and those who oppose it. The need for create classes of citizens above everyone else is a disturbing trend, and one that has now expanded, first to police and firefighters, and now to first responders, albeit not on this sign. And while I love first responders and fire fighters, why are we creating extra special classes of jobs with special rights? Why aren’t teachers heroes? Why aren’t, I don’t know, plumbers? Wal-Mart workers? Home care workers? Everyone contributes to America in the best way they can. Many would like to contribute more but face oppression, both direct and systemic. Why aren’t people trying to fight this superheroes?
The whole thing around special parking places is all about grocery stores just sucking up to law enforcement and engaging in cheap PR. But this is a very bad no good trend.