Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fergusen, and the mess we're in.

What’s happening in Fergusen, MI is entirely out of control and makes us as a nation look extremely bad. From the clear racial tensions in the area, to the overblown and militarized initial response by law enforcement, to the looting and all the way to the Governor actually calling in the National Guard to ‘bring peace and stability back to the region’. Listening to the language being used, you would think they’re referring to the Middle East, or some other battlefield… but we are talking about American soil.
Here is how we’re failing on all levels. These are symptoms of the larger issue, and the root cause.

1)      Race relations. While everyone has an opinion, the facts are solid. Fergusen, MI, is a town where the vast majority of the people who live there are black. Their government, and over 90% of their law enforcement personnel are all or very nearly all mostly white. It makes no sense that the black community has neither representation in government, or a presence in law enforcement. It is clear this is a community that has been oppressed, and they are sick of it to the point they’re rioting. This is a multi-level failure of governance. It is ridiculous to believe that there isn't a desire for fair representation in this city. It is clear the vote has been suppressed. And even today, a MI government official was quoted as saying that voter registration drives during the riots was ‘disgusting’. Excuse me, democracy is disgusting? No, that’s the way problems are SUPPOSED to be solved, especially in a county where only 12% of eligible voters are even registered to vote!  How are they supposed to get fair representation and law enforcement in this environment? Answer: they’re not. And voter suppression tactics by the local GOP are both obvious, and troubling.

2)      History. It is a fact that when the slaves were freed, our government did not give them any money, wealth, or otherwise. I want you to imagine you were a slave for a second. Now imagine you’re free… and broke… and homeless… and don’t have an education… and that many of your kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are in the same boat and have no way to get out of it. Reparations were never made, and the longer they wait to happen, the less they’ll help. The United States has failed blacks on so many levels. From the failure to make amends for centuries of slavery on American soil, to the continuous racial bias in government, the court system, law enforcement, and the prison system, laws work against blacks in America – not for them. It’s absurd to think that white people, or other races, commit less crimes than blacks. It is a fact that 60-70% of ALL Americans have at the very least been arrested, and nearly 40% of our citizens – that is over 150,000,000 of them – have been in jail or served time. Yet who stays in prisons? Who is kept there? And prisons are a for profit enterprise, where companies can get FREE LABOR… sounds to me like they found a way through privatizing prisons to reinstitute slave labor. And the vast majority were arrested for lame shit like pot smoking. Come on. It’s obvious to me, and PAINFULLY obvious to the black community what’s going on here. And that has got to stop. And until it does, more Fergusens will happen every so often.

3)      Police force militarization. Your police force likely has better gear than the soldiers in Iraq, and Afghanistan. Remember when Bush was ‘president’ and sent our troops into battle without the necessary gear? He sent them in with hand-me-down body armor, malfunctioning guns, not enough ammo, and lives were lost. So why the hell do our police have better gear than our troops? Well, that’s a long story, but the short version is, the war on drugs is literally a war on blacks. Silently, and insidiously, police arrest black drug users and the courts use a law called ‘mandatory minimum sentencing’ to incarcerate youths… sometimes life sentences, for shit like possessing a rock of crack cocaine, or one fucking joint.

And people WONDER why gangs are a thing. If you stick together, chances are the cops will leave you alone. It’s why neighborhoods like ‘the jungles’ of LA exist; barricaded, fortified neighborhoods meant to keep cops OUT of their communities. How sick is that? Cops are so notorious for racial profiling, violence, and unjust arrests, that the Black communities out there have literally said “We don’t want or need you around us…”. Well, once you fortify your neighborhood, cops beg for more funding and better equipment so they can go do ‘their jobs’ of putting black people into the prison system. And they get all the toys they want. Oh, and now that the war in Iraq is (sort of) over, you can have all the fancy gear that never went to our troops, and they have no training for. BRILLIANT. Now you have a force of police so heavily fucking armed, YOU AND I (indeed, ALL Americans) have no hope of EVER challenging our government for abuse of power. The government now has every agency armed TO THE TEETH. Did you know the fucking IRS has ammo and guns now? Are you serious?? AR-15’s and MASSIVE amounts of ammo were purchased by IRS collection agents. Gee, wonder who invokes the most ire from the IRS? Well-to-do white people, or generational poverty stricken black folks? Yeah, actually, I don’t wonder at all.

4)      Failure to listen. White people (of which I am one) get super defensive when you point out that they have privileges others don’t. They get oh-so-butthurt when reminded that many of our ancestors owned black slaves. The phrase “I wasn't there, and I never owned slaves” comes up a lot. Or “It’s 2014, and these blacks have plenty of rights, why are they so… (fill in stereotype here)”. Or how about the now-infamous GOP mantra of “they were much better off as slaves. My grandpa told me they were way happier than when they were freed”. Oh, that one is just sick, and stupid.  Or, I mean, shit…. This “REVERSE RACISM” shit… this is an idea that a psychotic two-year-old would come up with. The very notion that a white privileged male is in any way the victim of ‘reverse racism’ is so beyond fucking stupid, I’m having a tough time gathering up my thoughts to describe how asinine it truly is. Thing is, white people don’t want to hear how historically, they enslaved the black man, freed him, only to rig the justice system so they’re put in prison making license plates for your local DMV. There is a reason most Republicans tend to be pro-Confederacy, or pro-Law Enforcement, or perhaps even, want to ‘take our country back’ (which is thinly veiled code for: “Fuck the hippies and their civil rights movements. This is a white, male-dominated, Christian country”). So you have to find a way to crack that ice and get to the conscience of the white man in order to make him understand. And believe me, it took me decades to even begin to comprehend what privilege I had… can you imagine how hard that’s going to be to explain to 60% of America “You have it pretty fucking good, now give up some of that power so others can have a taste”? Good luck…

5)      We’re stupid. We as a nation are incredibly dumb, at this point in history. We have lost our ability to sanely solve complex issues. In fact we’d rather just ignore them. We don’t want to fund our schools, we’d rather sabotage them and give the job to for-profit private schools (oh, gee, here we go again… we found a way to deny black people education), thus creating an education vacuum that will only be filled by yet more stupidity. Knowledge is power, and denying it to anyone means you wish to be more powerful than they are. You wish to keep your aristocratic social club separate from the heathens. Oh, but you know, you can let a FEW very special people into your club, so long as they look and sound ‘as white as possible’ to you. Take, for example, the GOP. How many black senators do they have? One? Zero? How about congressmen? Same?

They did run a black candidate vs Barack Obama, but the guy was a freaking pizza chain CEO with little to NO civil service on his record (Herman Cain). What a joke. They ran HIM versus Barack Obama, a Harvard Law professor, Nobel Prize Laureate (hey, whatever your opinion on that one, he still has one, you don’t), a guy with a record of civil service and community organizing, versus a pepperoni baron. You think the GOP wanted to make a black man powerful? Fuck no! They wanted the GOP to look at Cain, and galvanize the idea in their head “This is why we only run white men for President… you can see what happens when we don’t.”. Then they turn around and run that goofball Rick Perry who couldn't even explain his position, or even remember the ‘three federal agencies’ he would cut. I’ll remind him. He said he wanted to cut the Dept. of EDUCATION (when he clearly needs it more than anyone), the FDA (which keeps drugs safe… for crying out loud), and the EPA (which keeps water clean for all of us, not just rich people)… all while it was revealed the motherfucker had a ranch called “N***erhead”. Are. You. Fucking. Serious?

And you know what? They’re going to run even MORE racist ass rubes the next election cycle. From Rick Perry (again, that is, if he doesn't go to jail), to Paul Ryan (round 2), Rand Paul (the guy who plagiarizes all his speeches and thoughts from Wikipedia), and quite possibly, a token black candidate.  If you can’t see what they’re doing, you are blind.

I’m going to sound like a complete partisan hack here, which is fine, I’d much rather be accused of being a liberal hack than a TeaBagger hack any day – but America, we have a serious issue. Not only is the GOP and TeaParty out of control and doing everything that super-villains do in the comics, the issue is that we are SO FUCKING DUMB we can’t even elect people to represent us properly. We don't pay attention to politics. We can't even agree on facts anymore. We have been divided, and conquered. We lost this game. You didn't think, you didn't unify, and you allowed government to be sold to the same kinds of people that we rebelled against – Dukes, Landlords, Kings, and Churches. It’s over, we lost, and you are now being monitored, tracked, data-based, spied on, and all YOU can fucking think about is “Oh those damn blacks are acting up”. Fuck, you have absolutely no idea. THEY have the right idea. STAND UP. REBEL. RAISE HELL. SACRIFICE YOURSELF FOR FREEDOM. Cos nobody else is doing that. Occupy Wall Street tried that too, and the banks bought the cops, which in turn dispersed all protests. That should have made you FREAK OUT, but white America wanted to sit on the couch and scream at the TV rather than showing solidarity in what was likely our last chance to reverse the damage done by Citizens United. Apathy is your enemy. The government is not your friend.

And APATHY is the root cause. You don’t care, and you are not willing to fight for justice.

APATHY.

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