Talk is Cheap
June 20, 2015 § 3 Comments
Jon Stewart last night got it right. We will grieve and pray about the murders in Charleston, but we won’t make changes that address the racism that produced them. I just listened to a CNN program featuring three commenters on Hillary Clinton’s speech in which, among other things, she called for gun control legislation and changes in the criminal justice system that makes a mockery of our claim of “equal justice under law”. One of the commenters was Brian Morgenstern, billed as a “GOP strategist”. He said he thought it was a mistake for Hillary to include a “divisive issue” like gun control in her speech. He is an appropriate representative of the GOP. Every single idea for changing racism in this country is opposed by the GOP.
Blacks don’t have equal health care: don’t mention it; too divisive.
Blacks don’t have equal employment opportunities: don’t mention it; too divisive.
Blacks don’t receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system: don’t mention it; too divisive.
Blacks are harassed, beaten and killed by racist cops: don’t mention it; too divisive.
Black median incomes are about ten percent of the value of white median incomes: don’t mention it; too divisive.
In other words, in the words of an old Woody Guthrie song: “Watch and pray; Live on hay; there’ll be pie in the sky when you die. That’s a lie!”
Our system of government does not make dramatic change difficult. It does not require long delays or cumbersome processes. The Twin Towers in New York were bombed on September 11, 2001. On October 2, 2001, the President signed the Patriot Act which fundamentally changed the balance between government power and individual liberty. When the will is there, the way is no problem.
Gun control and all of the above listed effects of racism have been debated, analyzed, politicized and pondered for decades. We all know there are too many guns in too many hands in this country. We know the 2d Amendment is compatible with reasonable regulation of gun ownership. Reasonable legislation has been drafted and proposed for decades. If politicians in Washington wanted to do something about hateful bigots shooting innocent people, they could have enforceable federal laws on the books by July 4th.
The same thing is true of the other problems. We know how to solve them. The problem is twofold: First, the corporate oligarchs that own our political system don’t want any significant changes that involve money because they are winning the game according to its present rules. Second, there are too many American voters whose attitude toward the plight of black citizens is neatly expressed in an old expression from the 1940’s: “F___ you buddy; I’ve got mine!”
When I listen to pontificating jackasses like Brian Morgenstern, my imagination begins running film clips of how it would feel to smash my fist into his smug face. And don’t lecture me about the First Amendment. It doesn’t apply to private action.