Maybe this is crazy, but maybe we live in a crazy world.
I grew up being taught that Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi were the paragons of the spirit of protest, that if you wanted to be heard, if you wanted action to be taken, you took to the streets, waved your sign, took your beating and made your voice heard to the choir. If there were enough people there, maybe it might make headlines in Tuesday’s paper. It was forgotten Wednesday by all but a few who decided to go on organizing. We came together again when the weather got nice, to protest about inequality. I remember “protesting” and thinking out loud to my friend that this was probably all pointless and nothing was really going to get done. An older man overheard my comments and turned to enlighten me about how his generation changed things during Vietnam, how conversations started happening, people started organizing. I felt like some knowledge had just dropped, like this big wow moment- oh yeah, we’re gonna start talking about our problems. That was Occupy, 4 years ago. No one occupies anymore, it’s kind of a joke now, sure the talking heads are talking about income equality now, we get all the talk we want. I remember marching as a young man, going to events protesting the Iraq War. A lot of talk went around, we still went to Iraq, more than a decade later, we’re still there. People died, people are still dying by our hands. But at least we’re talking about it right?
You know, no one really talks about protest unless they are noting it’s taking place or whining about it not fitting their idea of what protest is. White people complained so much about their ruined Sunday brunches so much it makes The Weathermen sound like public servants. Protest is so safe now, you have to schedule protests now with the city, the police show up to make sure you don’t bother anybody. Yeah, the police show up. And while you’re peacefully protesting at City Hall, these helicopter moms are lining up in, in droves, with actual helicopters, and armor and weapons and tear gas, anti-riot gear, helmets and shields, pepper spray, hand cuffs, zip ties, batons, motorcycles, mopeds, horses, squad cars, Swat vans, m-16s, disabling-ly deafening sonar rays, and all manner of new age technology in order to keep order, to “keep the peace”, their very own brand of “peace” with as many pieces as it might take to keep as many people as necessary from “disturbing the peace” whatever that means, no one’s quite sure except the police, and they don’t like to keep evidence of the peace being administered.
It’s gotta be peaceful you know, like your hippy English teacher said your freshmen year of highschool. You know schools are really great about teaching you about these pacifists, like MLK but most schools don’t really educate anyone on, say, Malcolm X, except for those cutouts of black people they put up every February that has some quote of theirs or the briefest description of a person’s life ever. No one really tells you about the Black Power movement, because even talking about black empowerment might be too empowering for young black men and women. No Black Panthers. Can’t have strong black role models am I right? Wouldn’t be American.
It’s funny, we talk about violence like it’s no big deal as long as it’s an American enacting violence on someone who isn’t American. In fact as long as you’re more American than someone it’s totally ok to enact any measure of violence to any degree whatsoever, just as long as you’re more American than them. Your American level is even admissible in court as evidence. You see there are Americans and then there are African Americans, they’re only half as American as Americans, so it’s ok if an American harms or kills them, they just weren’t American enough, and this is America goddammit. The older you are, the more American you are, the richer you are, the more American you are, the whiter you are, the more American you are, the more conservative, religious, traditional or mainstream you are, the more American you are. And the more American you are, the more rights you’re given. BONUS! If you’re American enough you can even own a gun, hell if you own a gun you’re so god damned American you’re down right Patriotic, and there ain’t nothing more American than being Patriotic, and nothing is more patriotic than owning a gun (unless you’re black, then you’re a criminal, obvi). That’s why we love police so much.
I am quite happy that shit is getting real in Baltimore, and the police are getting a run for their money, literally, as police property is being destroyed. This isn’t a Disney movie where being a good person leads to success and happiness, and playing by the rules means you win over the cheaters. If you cheat the game and you get away with it, you win, you win no matter what, because the rules by which one normally wins does not apply to you. People are dying, AMERICANS are dying, on American soil, at the hands of not merely their fellow Americans, but by the people who are SWORN to protect them, and they get off scot free, if not actually being rewarded for it. It doesn’t happen to you or me, because I’m white, and 10 to 1, if you’re reading this you’re probably white too. For those unlucky few who dare to be born black in America, for those underserved, underappreciated, unsupported, unloved, undesired, for those who are disrespected, suspected, robbed of opportunity, robbed of healthy, happy homes and communities, robbed of access to resources, for those in the fight and those that never had the chance to fight a society that robbed them of the sight to see that it was a struggle for your life and not a game, I cannot know your suffering and I would never will it upon another living soul, even the bastards that perpetrate such upon you (ok maybe them… definitely them) You, my black brothers and sisters are the most beautiful of peoples, that the sun claimed as her own children, and the moon looks for nightly. The kind of people that live life, whose joy you could not know lest you shared it as they do daily. You are a people of such spirit- look to a black person if you want to know if the soul exists- it does, they imbue their every moment with it, with themselves, with the god within, their words, their song, their dance, their laughter, their style. White folks make jokes we’re not as cool, but it’s not true, white folks, you’re just scared, scared to be that you, that true of yourself, to yourself and to others, you’re so fucking scared white people, you kill them. And you feel a little better because a little bit more of your soul is gone so there’s a little less of you to be afraid of feeling.
There’s a war coming. I mean a real war. Yeah there’s casualties now. There is certainly a hell in America and white folk keep it reserved for blacks. Just like the natives you’re on your own reservation Black America, and they’re going to gentrify you til your trail of tears runs dry. Don’t let them. Don’t let them take away your beauties, your many sons and daughters. Little Big Horn is coming. Fight them, don’t play by the rules, don’t protest like whitey says you’ve got to protest, don’t act like the media thinks you should act, do you, do you in a fight for your life, because it is, fight them anyway you can. America is founded on people taking arms against tyranny, and if this police state isn’t tyranny how much further must it go? How many more young black men have to die before we stop saying “this isn’t right” and we MAKE it right. Forget the politicians, your government hasn’t merely failed you, oh America, they have forgotten you, they have forgotten their masters and cavort with false idols. Make them remember. You’ve got your god given second amendment right America, it’s not there to protect you, it’s there for you to arm yourself, with justice to strike down those who would see America devour her people for money and power, to not merely condemn those who would sacrifice her children to the gods of capitalism but to banish them, forevermore from her shores, and mayhaps, the world’s. Don’t make them pay- make them remember.