Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There be no shelter here

Photo of Ferguson on fire, from PBS.

We played "Killing in the name" at the end of our radio show last night, which was right before 9pm, the time of Prosecutor Robert McCulloch's press conference in Ferguson, Missouri. In this incendiary (but rather bizarre) press conference, he announced the grand jury had not returned an indictment, and there would be no trial for the murder of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th.

All three of us are seasoned activists, and we knew what was coming. Even though 99% of grand juries return indictments... we knew THIS CASE would be an exception.

And so, driving home, I thought of the song we had played ... and then I thought of Rage Against the Machine's "No Shelter"--which I heard in my head, over and over... there be no shelter here/the front lines are everywhere. I wondered, is that really true?

Apparently so.

By the time I got home, America was burning.

I was going to write a post-election synopsis, but I think this post is going to stand in for it. My feelings about Ferguson and the 2014 election are forever entwined. One has in fact brought about the other. You are seeing the results of the election in action: the arrogance of power.

Rarely has an election had such a catastrophic effect on my morale. I have been plagued with self-doubt and disgust at the Left (or what passes for the Left in the USA), particularly the young folks who didn't vote and thus turned over the election to the Republicans. The election of Ronald Reagan left me deeply depressed, and this has been almost as bad. I just have to keep remembering: most people didn't vote, midterms belong to the base, it wasn't an actual mandate, blah blah blah. But right after the election, I was most upset at all the pseudo-radical tumblrites, the kids who talk a good game and do nothing, those people who claim there is no difference between the parties, when the lack of Medicaid expansion here in most southern states means that thousands will die with no health care.

They don't seem to care about that, or at least, not enough to vote.

Now see, when you put it that way, they howl in disagreement and indignation. But that is exactly what they did. They chose to sit out the election, and as David Brooks smugly reminded us on PBS, not voting is a vote, and the Democrats "failed to mobilize the base." Both true.

But see, the youth are all fired up over Ferguson. They tweeted furiously, almost more than I did. What's up with that? Drama attracts attention, but boring elections don't? (Do they understand the election was also a matter of life and death?) I was amazed at all the young people I saw in the Ferguson footage, all races, raising fists in the air and blocking the interstate. I once helped block an interstate highway (at the 1980 Republican convention in Detroit that nominated Ronald Reagan) and it is a powerful feeling. (We delayed Reagan's acceptance speech by almost an hour.) GODDAMMIT, PAY ATTENTION is what these actions scream out loud. It is as if they have decided elections are old school, and yet, the only way to get more minority cops and minority representation, IS ELECTIONS. However, considering all the votes habitually dropped down the toilet, along with gerrymandering and right-wing hijinks, we ALSO see that elections are stolen regularly, and that has created an epidemic of electoral cynicism.

I feel like the country is going down the road described so frighteningly in the (very entertaining, highly recommended) novel California, by Edan Lepucki. She describes a time when "the internet goes dark"--scary but totally believable, since it is obviously a threat to hegemony. People pay to live in "communities" that are safe and protected. If you can't afford to live in one of these, too bad. In Margaret Atwood's trilogy, Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood and MaddAddam, there are likewise "compounds" populated by the employees of the international corporations, and if you can't make it into one of these, you are consigned to the "pleeblands"--which are pillaged, torched and trashed with regularity.

Watching the news reports last night, I momentarily felt like I was in a compound, while Ferguson is a pleebland.


At left, Curtis McLaughlin on our radio show right before the election. He was the Libertarian Party candidate for congress in South Carolina's 4th district, against Trey Gowdy.

There was NO Democratic challenger.

Gowdy won 85% of the vote. Welcome to the South.


There is also some good news, as the first gay marriages in South Carolina have now become legal. I went to the demonstration last week at Greenville County Square, to cheer on those couples going in to get their licenses and thereby make history.

A little light in the darkness. A little bit. Some light, but no shelter.

There be no shelter here.

No Shelter - Rage Against the Machine

Comments welcome, but pro-Wilson/pro-cop comments will be dealt with harshly, and possibly deleted. Be advised.


JoJo said...

I am just saddened at the way our country is going. Everyone is soooo polarized and no one's working together. :(

I stay away from discussing politics and religion as much as possible, but I will make this one observation about my Facebook newsfeed. My conservative friends think the lack of indictment was the right decision, my liberal friends are horrified one wasn't handed down. Did you notice that at all?

Daisy Deadhead said...

Oh yeah, I got angry return tweets from lots of people with eagle and american flag avatars, diametrically opposed to the other tweets. It was dramatic, wasn't it?

The right wing hates government when its health care, but they can't wait to empower a bunch of punks with guns. And they defend this mythical unconstitutional creation called a GRAND JURY, while criticizing "excess government"~
Go figure.

D. said...

We've still got helicopters in the sky.

Anonymous said...

"no one's working together. :( "

This isn't true at all. Protesters are active in the cleanup efforts, artists are adding beauty to the ashes and people are working together to raise funds for business owners to rebuild ...

AND ... there has been incredible success with the Ferguson voter registration drives. HUNDREDS were registered who had never voted ever before. Daisy, you're 100 percent right in saying that THIS is how we bring change.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

hello daisy its dennis the vizsla dog hay my dada sez he thinks the country is hedding toward the wurld of snow crash ware peepul pay to liv in korporate sponsord nayborhuds calld burbclaves!!! it all sownds verry balkanized and dysfunkshunal but the pizza stil gits deliverd on time in the wurld of snow crash so their is that i suppoze!!! ok bye

Anonymous said...

From the NYT Oct. 17, 2014

WASHINGTON — The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.

The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.

The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Anon, I am sure I have read more about this case than you have. I know the facts; I read your comment and I think: So?

Why was there a "scuffle" in the first place? Steeling a pack of cigars? Sounds damn serious.

Why do you automatically believe Darren Wilson's account, when he has a pattern of lying? Why did he have NO bruises or cuts on him, if it happened the way he claimed? "Pinned in his vehicle and afraid for his life"--and there isn't even a lil ole puffy spot on his face or arm to show for it? Bullshit.

If you are naive enough to believe that... well, I can't help you.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I asked for your help.

The question is: Who attacked whom?

Daisy Deadhead said...

Who attacked whom? Are you serious? You didn't ask for my help, and yet here you are, obviously illiterate, naive and thoroughly, profoundly stupid.

Answer to your question: The person empowered with the authority of the US govt (issued a gun by the state to enforce this authority), murdered the person without a gun in cold blood, for the horrific crime of stealing some cigars. You think that's okay, and I don't. You believe what the murderer says, and I don't. You support state power unquestioningly, and I don't.

Apologists for unbridled state power (like yourself) now stream forth to say AMEN like good Christians, usually with the hilarious punch line of claiming not to trust the government or claiming to hate "big government"... Yes, I've seen it all before. And I expect I will see it again, since you government-apologists never seem to learn from your mistakes ... you therefore will get the chance to defend MORE murdering state henchmen in the future, since you have no shame at all.

Now, please go away. I know where to find Fox News (Faux News, as we call it on our radio show) when I want them, which I don't.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I avoid cops like the plague. Why? Because I know that 99% of them give the rest a bad name. I know that they carry guns and will shoot anyone or anything in the name of 'officer safety'.
I know that if I step backwards when talking to a cop I am resisting arrest and could be tazed or beaten. I know that if I take a step forward I am guilty of assaulting the cop and can be shot.

That Brown didn't know this is unfathomable.

btw, my name is orlin sellers and you can read my positions on cops and government by doing a search at Mikeb302000.

I am also a follower of ZAP (zero aggression principle) However, if someone uses aggression against me, I have the right to defend myself by any and all means possible.

So, when the local and two separate federal forensics experts (sent by Holder) agree on the evidence, I tend to believe that evidence. Would I nilly willy automatically believe the shooter? No. Just like I wouldn't automatically believe a possibly racist bystander. And I definitely would not believe the narrative of the media.