I’m sitting here in the so-called Heart of America, in central Illinois, and I can see the plaque on our arteries plain as day.
This is said in the wake of this week’s shootings of unarmed black men/boys by white police in Minnesota and Louisiana, and the seemingly retaliatory shootings of armed white (or all races?) police in Dallas last night.
Let me first add my voice of grief and frustration to the near-useless cacophony, to the shrill echo chamber, that Facebook especially has become. The public discourse is devolving quickly, especially in mass media during a presidential election year. I can do very little to counteract that trend. But I won’t stand silently by, either.
It should be obvious that :
1) all lives matter, especially to God
2) black and brown lives are statistically more at risk (of violence, poverty, racism, starvation, imprisonment, addiction, ignorance, nationalism, illness, neglect…all the Love of Power’s wicked children).
This is simply scientific. Look at mortality rates, CDC numbers, census stats, and firmly established history.
That black/brown/minority lives are more at risk of violence is also true not just in the U.S. but thoughout the world, which has been dominated by armed white Europeans and our progeny for going on, like, 5,000 years now.
It does not make me a cop-hater to point out the obvious. Shootings by police or of police –regardless of race– are really about the legacy of power/fear dynamics in human civilization. All the rest is just context, or irrelevant noise.
But guns as a constitutional, ideological, criminal justice, media-debated and yes, racial hot potato: that’s unique to *America*.
We used to love all them ol’ Western Cowboy shoot-em-ups, dint we, Vern? So in my view, we’ve been trying to work out the whole pros/cons gun violence and law-and-order thing since well before the Civil War, if not since the American Revolution itself.
We (especially whites looking to preserve the status quo) are conditioned to react fearfully with violence, and skin color is simply the easiest way to define the “other” whom we have been subtly or overtly coached to fear.
So… How are we doing in this crucial dialogue, lawmaking, and enforcement? Not so well, I’m afraid –since it seems to be getting worse here, especially for black and brown people. By the way, all our military actions overseas nowadays are against various Brown Others, too.
Speaking of war, blowhard former congressman and sometime radio pundit Joe Walsh declared a race war just last night. So all the above is also said in the wake of blustering and ridiculous tweets by former IL congressman Joe Walsh. For the details on that story, the Washington Post has done the legwork for us here.
For those who don’t click thru, Walsh’s most incendiary tweet went like this, just before midnight, a tweet which he has since taken down:
“This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
I think Philando Castile’s life mattered. Does that make me a punk? You coming after me, Joe? But I’m white. And I don’t have a gun, in fact I’m a true pacifist–wouldn’t use one even to defend myself (though I might hunt with a gun if I had to, or felt like it).
You going after President Barry, Joe? But he’s half white –and the other half is really Kenyan, not what the majority thinks of as “black” when discussing U.S. racial politics.
You going after “punks” (in the musical/rebellious sense of the word)? Most of them were/are white, and a good number are even conservative like you. Well, maybe not asses like you, just working class whites unhappy with the socio-political system that you represent. I’m that kind of punk.
Most importantly, who/what is this Real America of which you speak? I want to be able to see them coming.
This war of words is getting bloodier by the hour. But I don’t even know what side I’m on, when all the shootin’ starts. Can you help me out, Joe?
Where IS this mythical Real America anyway? Because I’m sitting right here in the middle of the Corn Belt, with decent, hardworking, seasonal Latino factory workers sitting right over in the next room, but I can’t find YOUR America around here to save my life, Joe. Here, they are the majority, I am the minority, …and I am not one bit scared of them.
Your Illinois is not mine, and it’s certainly not that of those blacks, Latinos, Muslims and “others” with whom I stand in solidarity (even if I DO have to compete with them for a job now and then).
I also can’t find those racist tweets you took back down from your Twitter, either. Don’t you stand behind what you’ve said anymore? What kind of weak-ass warrior and propagandist are you?