Thursday, August 14, 2014

First they came for the Socialists...

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew. 
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. 
Martin Niemöller

The original intent of this remark, given in speeches around Germany, was to point out that Germans—in particular leaders of German Protestant churches—had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.

Today, in the United States, the Republican Party is responsible for the intensification of racial animosity against minorities - blacks and hispanics in particular - and are the cause of much of the violence against blacks now being acted out on the public stage by the growing militaristic police presence in this country.  White militia groups, openly carrying loaded weapons, now patrol the US-Mexico border against the "incursion" of hispanic children!

Recent stories in the press, such as the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and several additional instances of such violence have resulted in a growing unease in social media about not just official violence against blacks, but the increasing trend of police violence against any public dissent against that violence, regardless of the race or ethnicity of the protestors.

Additionally, numerous Stand Your Ground laws in various States have resulted in civilian violence against minorities which have allowed the perpetrators to walk away without fear of prosecution.  These laws have been promulgated by Republican legislatures over the loud and vociferous protests of Democratic and pro-gun control groups.

I am greatly troubled by these various developments.

While law enforcement violence against blacks and hispanics is nothing new, especially in the South, to see such violence pop into the public eye in places like Missouri and California is troubling, to say the least.  And to see the situation in Missouri escalate into such a state that the police turn the town into an armed camp, arresting both members of the press and a State Senator, is beginning to border on the absurd and the alarming.

I add here the recent execution of Troy Anthony Davis (October 9, 1968 – September 21, 2011), an American man convicted of and executed for the August 19, 1989, murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia.  In spite of the recantation of numerous prosecution witnesses and the admission of guilt by another inmate, the State of Georgia went ahead with the execution.

I can add several more, indeed, four out of the top 5 wrongful executions in the US were of black men.  It is well documented that the US justice system, nationwide, is stacked against minorities.

It is an interesting phenomenon that the only groups of pro gun demonstrators "exercising" their open carry rights are white.  There are no documented cases of groups of black men so demonstrating their "right" to open carry anywhere in the United States.

I wonder why that is?

I think the situation is getting out of control.

I think the fact that it is out of control is deliberate.

Republicans have been running on a platform which asserts that the "government" doesn't work and is a burden on the American people.  They have worked very hard, using every opportunity to ensure that their assertions work out to be true, sabotaging good government at every possible turn.

They have ensured that American police departments, under the aegis of the "War on Drugs", have loaded up with as much militaristic weaponry and equipment as possible using Federal money to finance that buildup.

Their campaigns of fear and uncertainty aimed at the poorest elements of white America have stoked the fires of racial animosity and hatred in order to ensure the re-election of Republican leaders at every level of government, using State and local powers to subvert Federal laws and regulations wherever possible to foil the increasingly liberal march of American social beliefs and morals and any influence that may have on US law.

The trust and confidence of the American people in our police, in the courts, and in the prosecutors who administer our system of justice is eroding daily.  When police concentrate on blacks and hispanics, ignoring whites, and prosecutors apply different standards of justice to minorities, public trust in these institutions begins to erode.

When the courts begin to allow these other groups to violate the rights of minorities without consequence, the erosion of public trust accelerates.

Sooner or later, the people of this country will decide that they've had enough, and Republicans hope that they can cash in on that decision.

Don't let them.  Speak out!  The best way to do that is to vote.  DON'T STAY AT HOME!

This November, get out and vote.  Vote Democratic!  Toss out the Republican Party and force them to go into exile, where they can hopefully restructure their party and relearn what it is to be an American.

I think they've forgotten completely.