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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, August 02, 2013

With Liberty and Justice for Not Everybody

So what about those great and stirring words "with liberty and justice for all?"   Doesn't that phrase appear in some place that is so important that the words have been permanently etched on the American psyche from childhood?   Maybe it's a part of the Flag Salute, aka the Pledge of Allegiance.   My mind wavers, because I've had no occasion to stand in a classroom or anywhere else and put my hand to my chest and recite all that, since long before the words "under God" were so infelicitously added (which appears to have happened in the early 1950's.  By that  time I was in the military, where we did a lot of saluting but hardly any reciting, unless it was the 10 General Orders, and since I also long ago lost my "Airman's Handbook," I no longer can put my hands on what those were either.  Isn't it great to have grown so old and casual!)

The Incurious Sanford Jury that delivered that Zimmerman verdict sent the world a more modern message as to whether those words still pertained.   "With liberty and justice for all?   No, no way!   The long-standing view and policy that those words do not apply where nigras are concerned is still in effect."

Once more I am just as glad as I can be that I'm not part of that dominant, Europeno demographic in whose name so many racial injustices have been committed ever since they decided to bring in the first slaves from Africa, to do all that hot, dirty, difficult work clearing fields and tending the cotton and tobacco crops in Virginia, not to mention the myriad other atrocities that were involved in maintaining slavery.   And I don't see how anyone in that white superiority demographic with even as little as one drop of decency can sleep easily tonight or any other night, knowing how once again a great injustice has been done by them and in their name, in Sanford, Florida last month, on top of the billions of others that have been committed upon the slaves and their descendants for nearly 400 years.

In the wake of the Sanford verdict, the American rightwingers hoped against hope that, in protest of the verdict, "black" people would react in the style of Pavlov's dogs and repeat what some did in the mid-20th century, especially when Reverend King was shot, and pour out into the streets of all the big cities and start wrecking and burning things.  After Sanford all the millions of guns and the thousands of tons of ammunition that the dominants have been buying like crazy could -- this time -- be put to good use.   The conservatives looked forward, this time, to the good ol' race riots of yore -- New York 1863, Wilmington N.C. 1898, Tulsa 1919, and many other killing grounds participated in by "the people."   The "race riots" of the 1950's and 1960 were not really that at all, but instead could more properly have been called "property riots" and "vandalism and looting expeditions," because in those events ordinary "white" citizens stayed home in their comfortable suburbs, and they let their police do all the shooting and killing.   This time the conservatives looked forward, though in vain, to the prospect of ordinary citizens taking part in all the fun once more and causing the gutters in the inner cities to overflow with "black" blood.  In conservative eyes, that would've been truly the new "America the Beautiful," and because you would've been talking about the world's only superpower here, no one elsewhere would've had anything to say about it, at least nothing that need be respected.

"[The Negro] had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

      --So said the chief U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roger Taney, in the 1857 Dred Scott case, midway (so far) through the country's career.

I hope the renewed dread and dismay that I personally feel today can be understood.   The overwhelming majority of Americans have never had the experience of being, as I was many years ago, a black youth of 17 not all that different from a Trayvon Martin.  And added to that, I had a son who was also at one point a "black" youth of 17, who was also not much different from Trayvon Martin.   And it shouldn't be forgotten that the current President of the U.S., B. Obama, said right after the murder that he could've had a son like Trayvon Martin.

Having one's existence valued so cheaply by so much of the rest of the world, even by one's own contemporaries of the same physical description at far too many times, no matter how much that person may try to be benign and law-abiding, is a discomfort that I would never wish on anybody.   Still, today we have nearly half the country eager to keep my demographic (chiefly but not always a much younger sector of it) always and forever under the easy-to-use hammer of ever abundant firearms and the often irresistible urge to use them.