Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Slow Rolling Crisis of Legitimacy

Barack Obama was recently quoted in regard to what he termed the "slow-rolling crisis" of unarmed people of color being murdered by police in the United States.  He did not, however, use the word "murder."  While he he expressed his nuanced concerns over "too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions," he was very quick to unequivocally condemn the increasingly violent reactions to the ongoing police killings of unarmed African-Americans. 

The trouble with all of this is that the "troubling questions" mentioned by Obama have equally troubling, yet perfectly obvious answers.  The problem with mainstream America is that many Americans are engaging in a game of dodge 'em with the truth.  The dodges fall into one of two categories.  The first category consists of closing one's eyes, plugging one's ears, and singing "La, la, la" as loudly as possible whenever anyone suggests that the United States is an inequitable society founded on murderous white supremacy, and that oppression and unjust treatment are alive and well today.  The "La, la, la's" become especially loud whenever the U.S. is about to attack, destabilize, bomb or otherwise harass a country whose overthrow might provide some economic benefit to the plutocrats who run things here.

The other dodge category consists of excusing the inhumane treatment of minorities by exaggerating their criminality or lying about the circumstances of their deaths.  This kind of lying was fairly obvious in the case of Michael Brown.  But there are even more egregious examples of lying, including some which predate Brown's murder.  For instance, there is the case of a Hispanic teen in North Carolina in 2013, who supposedly shot himself in the head with a hidden pistol while handcuffed in the back of a North Carolina police cruiser.  (A neat trick, that!  Better than Houdini!)  A more recent example of creative fiction is attempt by certain voices to downplay the impact of organized police violence against the Black American community by saying that the problem of "Black on Black crime" is far worse.  Such people quote former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's claim that 93 percent of Black murders are committed by Black perpetrators, and that this statistic proves that we are indeed a dangerous, criminal race.  However, actual statistics paint a far different picture.  See this, this, this, this, and this for example.  And be sure to read the linked articles in their entirety - unless you'd rather sing "La, la, la" as loudly as you can with your fingers in your ears.

Both dodges are scale-free characteristics of narcissistic abuse.  For instance, you can see the same wilful ignorance of trauma inflicted, or self-justification of trauma inflicted, on the part of domestic abusers.

Back to Obama.  He is in an interesting bind, having been supported in 2008 by a broad spectrum of people who saw the ruinous direction the U.S. had taken under his predecessor.  Instead of fulfilled "hopes" for "change", what we got was a genial apologist for the continuation of those same policies.  In 2009, blogger Dmitry Orlov compared Obama to Gorbachev, saying of him that he is"...the smiling face behind the crumbling imperial fa├žade, the personable, non-threatening loser."  To the Black American community, Obama's mission was to be a pacifying, genial token.  But reality had a way of rendering his tokenism ineffectual.  (By the way, Obama's disease is characteristic of the entire Democratic Party.)  Had he been an honest man being "held hostage" as many of us believed during his first term, he could at least have been honest enough to refuse to run for re-election.  But now many even in the Black community no longer care what Obama says; he's become irrelevant.

And so we come to a few further comparisons between the Gorbachev of the end of the Soviet Union and the Obama of today.  As the senile apparatchiks of the Soviet Union staged a putsch to restore themselves and their empire to its former glory, so senile redneck rich people in this country have hijacked the political process in a bid to restore their supremacy to its former glory.  Ultimately they will fail, but not before they seize every opportunity to make a mess that someone will have to clean up afterward.  Slow-rolling crises have a way of boiling over.

As for me, I seek as much as possible to be a pacifist.  (These are my Boss's orders.  Matthew 5:38-41.)  But if I can in any way help the current American system to survive and thrive, that help is henceforth withdrawn.  And I will seek to disconnect from that system as much as possible.  Both it and its owners are illegitimate.

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