I was going to submit an entry to the blog this week about the various midseason finales of the superhero/comic book television shows that I watch weekly and while I still plan to finish polishing up that submission, the culmination of certain events in America have taken up most of my attention. Cops getting off scot-free for the murder of citizens and the worldwide protests those have touched off have been joined by official confirmation of this country’s torture program that was all but codified in the frantic days after 9/11 almost fifteen years ago. I’m righteously angry that Darren Wilson and Daniel Panteleo were allowed to skate without even the rubber stamp of indictment for the murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner on Staten Island, N.Y., respectively. And these were murders; make no mistake, willful or otherwise, about that. These heinous crimes by those sworn to protect and serve made me angry but the release of CIA documents proving that authorized agents of this country gleefully and maliciously tortured citizens and foreign nationals in the fictional War on Terror declared after 9/11 made me sick to my soul.
As a Black man who has lived in this country his whole life, I have no illusions about the land of my birth. I learned in junior high school by cracking open a book on my own that the original sin of the New World was the genocidal slaughter of the various Native American civilizations by plunderers from European countries like Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain. I knew from watching Roots as a seven year-old that the United States’ mortal sin was the kidnapping and enslavement of African peoples for almost two hundred, fifty years with another hundred years of de facto Jim Crow slavery on top of that to boot. I’m convinced now that the state-sanctioned terror against American and foreign citizens will be this country’s final sin because no country that claims to be civilized can prove such a declaration while shooting down innocent children in the street or anally raping men with the widest hoses possible while being held without legal recourse. No, such a nation is as barbaric as any pack of vandals out of Hammurabi’s time.
I have no illusions because this country has never lived up to the creeds in its founding documents. Those high-sounding words never included anyone outside of land-owning white men. However, those words are something this country should aspire to reach every day especially in these supposedly more enlightened times. This country is too far down the line to still be fighting the same battles that were considered won and settled decades ago. All citizens deserve equal protection under the law, not to be coerced into cutting plea bargained deals with a legal system where justice depends more on the size of the defendant’s bank account than determining guilt or innocence.
By the same token, this country should never have even seriously considered pre-emptive war on trumped up evidence. No country attacked America on September 11, 2001. No religion made those towers fall in Manhattan. Those were crimes, pure and simple, not acts of war carried out by Afghanistan and Iraq. Crimes are investigated by law enforcement not the military and if those offenses had been treated as such then the loss of blood and treasure as well as civil liberties in this country may have never happened.
It did happen though and the mistake is being compounded because we as a nation have not owned these crimes by trying to correct those tragic errors. No, too many in government, the media, and the every day citizenry have made it plain they are content to shrug off these offenses as the price of protecting this country. Not surprising though because this nation still hasn’t made formal redress or apology for the crime of slavery and its aftermath. States begrudge compensating illegally imprisoned innocents for crimes they never committed but for which many served decades behind prison steel. Maybe the rectally fed victims of America’s enhanced interrogation techniques may get formal redress and apology from this government because in the future Iraq and Afghanistan may prove to be valuable trading partners since we all know the business of America is business. In the sci-fi classic Dune, it is said the Spice must flow. In the American oligarchy, that can be amended to say keep the Coffers full.
It’s more likely I’ll trip over a billion dollars taking out my trash than these words of mine will make any difference when it comes to the direction this country is taking. I’m too cynical for illusions like that but I want this to stand as a humble testament that at this time in American and world history not everyone in this country drank the kool-aid of moral relativism the media-military-industrial complex is serving. Some of us see the joke for what it is and know there’s nothing funny about presidential kill lists and police shootings of children holding toy guns. I would holler but Marvin Gaye did that around forty years ago so this will have to do for now. No illusions, no more screeds, just keep my head down and reach out to other conscious people who are committed to making this country live up to the flowery promises in those founding documents of which I spoke. It’s long past time to stop sacrificing sections of the populace because of minor differences like ethnicity and religion for short term gain that only accrues to the top less than one percent. It’s time to stop fighting over the crumbs and correct the sins this country of ours was built on.
No illusions at all but don’t blame a guy for imagining better.
–Jason O. Logan