Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ferguson, Tension, and $20

Call me crazy (or preferably a softer adjective that still indicates a certain breaking point has been reached), but I don't really trust any information I receive from a racist police department (a la Ferguson). Furthermore, I don't necessarily trust any other department under the umbrella of that same system (St. Louis County).
At any other protest held by citizens highlighting the egregious actions of their own police, I might consider the shooting of two cops a tragic mistake on the part of an emotionally overburdened individual. 

Here, however, it's hard not to respond with snark and "told you so" angst. Since Michael Brown was shot and killed (and, incidentally, since Eric Garner was choked to death), a widely shared meme stated "Instead of saying 'fuck the police,' how about you stop breaking the law?" One response to that may very well be "Instead of saying you need more cops, more guns, and more armored vehicles, how about you stop treating your own citizens like enemy combatants?" Or "Instead of being closet racists toward the community you're sworn to protect, why don't you uphold your oath to serve and protect that community?"

No, those are both too long. I'm sure some of you can think of something better. Anyway, this reeks of self-fulfilling prophecy. If we treat a town like a war zone, and its people like combatants, it isn't surprising if those people eventually fight back. And it's absurdly unfair, as only one side is actually equipped for a war. Can you guess which side? It's not the side chanting "Hands up! Don't Shoot!"

But the possibility remains that this was a deliberate effort to deflect the public's negative attention back to the protestors and off the departments in question. All we really have to substantiate this is a grainy video (the cops apparently snatched the camera before the high quality version could be archived) wherein the shooting appears to come from behind the group of protestors. The angle of the shooting is significant because the shots did not come from within the core of the protest. This does not mean the shooter was definitely a police agitator, but it increases the likelihood that the shooter was (literally and figuratively) outside of the movement.

Let us rewind to the Department of Justice releasing its findings on the racist actions and policies of the Ferguson Police Department. Shortly afterward, Megyn Kelly predictably towed the Fox News "racism isn't a problem" line with a somewhat surprising lack of self-awareness (for her, anyway). When I read a portion of the transcript from the exchange, I thought "wow, Megyn Kelly is having one of those rare lucid moments where she says something perfectly reasonable to challenge the overarching narrative of her employer. She's admitting that there is a widespread problem of racism in both law enforcement and corporate America." And then I saw the clip, wherein she argues that the pervasiveness of racism means that racism is not a problem. Essentially, she's saying that it's okay because everyone is doing it.

Which must explain the mentality behind a fraternity that chants despicably hateful things with absolute glee and zero apprehension.

There still exist citizens who blame the media for racial division but not racism for racial division. What exactly are you afraid of? When the media reports the objective facts pertaining to a story where it seems racism, even at a very subtle level, played some sort of role in the events of the story, why is the media doing its job the problem? Do you sincerely believe that racism is best kept at bay by ignorance?

And what do you think the masters of the most potentially powerful tool in the arsenal of corporate propaganda would stand to gain by purposefully deviating from the perpetuation of the status quo? Have you fucking considered that? No. Are you worried Nat Turner is going to sleep with your wife before he swipes off your head? What century are you living in?

Speaking of bloody history, a movement is afoot to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 note. A Daily Beast article provides a comprehensive list of Andrew Jackson's utter awfulness, but does nothing to support the notion that only decent people belong on our money. I say we go the opposite direction. Only put our most miserable, heinous, murderous assholes on money. Why would you tarnish a good person's image by associating them with the root of all evil? We do believe that, don't we? Money is the root of all evil, right? But perhaps nothing is sacred, which is why God is already on all of our money.