President Barack Obama signs the America’s Promise Summit Declaration, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. From left are, John Gomperts, President and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance, Alma Powell, Chair, America’s Promise Alliance, the president, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Harris Wofford.
President Barack Obama answers a question about the performance of the Secret Service after a signing the America’s Promise Summit Declaration, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The president said the Secret Service does “a great job.” He says he is grateful for the “sacrifices” the service performs on his behalf and on behalf of his family.
The great irony of the USA; we will go far abroad to protect the rights of selected persecuted minorities, we will speak about fair elections, we will condemn others for their failures in human rights, while in our own country we have long been guilty of these sins ourselves. The leaders and citizens of other countries are well aware of this hypocrisy. When they sit across negotiating tables they will have as ammunition the long voting lines and all of the moves to hinder and deny the right to vote, the many tales of members of an oppressed minority gunned down in the streets, unarmed, peacefully protesting citizens being persecuted by heavily armed police (so much for our much-vaunted constitutional rights), a national media, financed and controlled by a small group of wealthy white men, and a white majority that hates and does all that it can to marginalize and destroy a small minority (that is still less than 13% of the overall population).
What can we dare to say to others when we have not cleaned up our own house, when we are guilty of the same crimes that we dare to take other countries to task? It is more than time that we truly take up all of our country’s ills and make a final push to cure them. For far too long, the sores have been covered with band aids, but it is so easy to pull them off and to see the infection underneath. When Buddhist monks, Amnesty International, and the war-torn and savaged Palestinans are compelled to reach out to help American citizens who are being persecuted from all sides, shows just how bad our unresolved racial issues are. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I love this country; I wish that my country loved me.
Been mostly lurking these past few days. Haven’t had many positive words to contribute, so I’ve chosen “praying” over “saying” But something happened last night that I felt I needed to share.
I have lived most of my life in neighborhoods where most of the residents were renters, rather than owners. One area in particular had a helicopter noise issue that was almost unbearable at times. The helicopters would circle overhead endlessly, making the neighborhood feel like a war zone. It got so it was unusual to have a quiet night, and I could relate to that Ice Cube song, “It Was a Good Day.” I would call the local PD and ask what was up and would be told about things like, “there is a fist-fight at a party” or some other minor incident. Finally the phone operator confessed that the city had been given all these helicopters after 911, but the deal was that they had to keep them up in the air for a certain number of hours per month in order to keep them. I commented to her that they flew them over the areas with home renters (also the area with more brown people), rather than home owners, because the rich people fund campaigns and vote and would complain). Her laugh and silence told me that I was correct in my assumption.
Jump to now. I am doing a kind of house-sitting thing for a friend that has landed me in a very affluent suburban community. I have been living here over six months and have never heard helicopters circling, until last night. I heard one overhead going round and round and making an announcement over a loudspeaker. Of course, I assumed they were after some fugitive or something. Nope. The announcer was repeating a male (child’s?) name, along with the words “your family is looking for you. Please get to a phone and dial 911.”
This absolutely floored me! So, in this neighborhood they send out helicopters to find lost neighborhood kids? When I was a kid, the only announcement came from your mom, yelling your name out the front door.
The difference between these two experiences hit me especially in light of recent events. O.k. back to lurking and praying. Thanks to all the TODers for your insightful and informative posts.
I can’t even pretend to internalize what’s going on through the hearts of Mike Brown’s family. I can’t pretend to internalize what African Americans all over the country are feeling at young Mr. Brown’s execution.
I can ask a few questions.
What was the last time a white teenager was killed for stealing a candy bar?
What was the last time a white teenager was killed by a community watch vigilante for walking down the street?
What was the last time a white father was gunned down by police for handling an air rifle at Walmart?
If you are scratching your heads trying to come up with the answer, the answer is simple: never.
If your answer then is to say “Well, they [all those black folks] looked suspicious”, then you’re part of the festering racism which works to hold back this country.
On that sweltering July 5th 1852, exactly 162 years ago today, Frederick Douglass delivered his famous speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”, a speech uncensored in its brutal rebuke of the hypocrisy of America celebrating independence, while its black population remained shackled in slavery. I wonder what he would say today if he were here in our time. No doubt the brutality of slavery in his time can never be compared to anything going on today.
Yet in view of the determined aggression of America’s conservative forces in our time, to derail every single gain made in the last century to advance Democracy and make this country “a more perfect union,” one wonders what he’d say. In the lifework of Frederick Douglass in which he combined his abolitionist cause with the fight for Women’s Rights, he always saw the struggles of enslaved African Americans as intertwined with the struggles of ALL disenfranchised Americans.