July 15, 2013

Stop Doing the Vicious Work of the Ruling Class

I offered some brief thoughts about Obama's disgusting and profoundly offensive comments regarding the Zimmerman verdict here. In thinking about the trial and verdict -- and, of much more significance, the overwhelming amount of commentary offered by almost everyone about this case -- I realized some additional remarks of my own are merited. In particular, there is one significant issue that I haven't seen sufficiently addressed elsewhere.

As I occasionally feel compelled to do when I discuss subjects of this kind, allow me to establish my general perspective. I have written extensively about the vicious and pervasive racism that permeates every aspect of life in the United States. As just two examples out of many more, see "Racist Nation" and "Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been ... a Racist?" The second article is titled in that manner because I was addressing the charges of racism leveled by many people against anyone who dared to criticize Obama during the 2008 election. Because I wrote a number of essays exposing the numerous lies and frauds that the Obama candidacy represented, some people accused me of being a racist. In view of my extensive writing on this subject, the accusation was shockingly unjust.

I've also emphasized repeatedly that racism is sickeningly alive and well in the United States today. From the War on Drugs (see here and here), to the War on Terror and U.S. foreign policy in general (and in every particular), as well as in the countless ways that systemic racism finds expression in our everyday lives -- from the jobs that are available to us, to housing, to education, to everything else -- racism remains a critical foundational element of our existence. The truth of this issue has been hopelessly confused and sabotaged by the election and reelection of Obama. Because he desired power, because he wanted to be the most powerful man in the world as the head of the most murderously powerful nation on earth, Obama ran as a white man. As I have stated: "All this means that it is Obama himself who has adopted the white racist framework. Yes, I repeat that: Obama has adopted the white racist framework with regard to every issue of importance."

The lie of the Obama presidency has confounded this issue almost beyond the point of reclamation. (A perusal of "Obama's Whitewash," which analyzes Obama's widely-praised speech on race, provides a primer on how this monumental lie took hold.) A lie so overwhelming in its significance and reach makes accurate analysis of virtually any subject all but impossible. The Zimmerman case fell into this cauldron of lies, confusion and dishonest agendas. It is not surprising in the least that it is enormously difficult to find sensible commentary about it.

With this as background, I state the following. While I did not follow the case very closely, I think I know enough of the critical facts to form basic judgments about it. If I had been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have voted not guilty. In an article rare for its coherence on this subject, Ta-Nehisi Coates says the same thing:
In trying to assess the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, two seemingly conflicted truths emerge for me. The first is that based on the case presented by the state, and based on Florida law, George Zimmerman should not have been convicted of second degree murder or manslaughter. The second is that the killing of Trayvon Martin is a profound injustice.
That is exactly right, and his reasoning deserves your attention.

Keep in mind an obvious point that is often forgotten: not guilty does not mean innocent. Zimmerman is certainly guilty of following, and probably of stalking, Martin in an entirely unjustified manner. He may well be guilty of being a vicious racist himself; some facts suggest that, but others do not. In terms of what happened that night, it is undeniably true that, had Zimmerman not acted as he did, the tragedy would not have occurred. In that sense, Zimmerman was the prime mover in connection with Martin's death.

None of that changes the fact Zimmerman was not proved guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. As Coates discusses (and as others have also pointed out), to prove Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the State would have had to prove that, in the final moments of their confrontation, Zimmerman had no reasonable fear that he was in serious danger. Given the fragmented, sometimes contradictory accounts from the few witnesses to that confrontation, there was never any chance that the State could meet that burden. Therefore, Zimmerman is not guilty of these particular crimes -- although he may nonetheless be guilty of being an entirely rotten human being who exhibited extremely poor (and possibly hideously motivated) judgment.

When laid out in this manner, the case is actually very straightforward. But now consider the purposes for which the right and left have appropriated it. (I use "right" and "left" in the broad sense in which those terms are commonly understood.) The right loses no opportunity to argue that, while racism (and slavery) were terrible evils in this country's history, slavery is long gone, and racism is no more. If their assertions are challenged, they will ultimately resort to saying (with exclamation points): "But we have a black President! Who was reelected! Racism must be dead!" This is only one of the hideously deformed results of the monumental lie that Obama embodies. The right has no wish (and perhaps no ability) to understand that Obama fashioned himself into the whitest man in America, precisely so he could wield power on an incalculable scale. And Obama is notably more vicious in the exercise of that power than the white man who preceded him in that office. Nor is the right in the least concerned with what Michelle Alexander calls "The New Jim Crow," just as they evince no understanding whatsoever of the numerous ways in which racism remains embedded in the structure of this country, as well as in the fabric of its everyday life. Similarly, they strenuously deny that racism lies at the root of U.S. foreign policy.

For the right, the Zimmerman verdict represents the triumph of "colorblind justice." Even if that were true, it is certainly not true that race had nothing to do with this case, as the right also contends. Many on the right endlessly repeat that Zimmerman is not white himself, and use this fact to argue that the left's entire "narrative" is wrong. But as Coates concludes:
When you have a society that takes at its founding the hatred and degradation of a people, when that society inscribes that degradation in its most hallowed document, and continues to inscribe hatred in its laws and policies, it is fantastic to believe that its citizens will derive no ill messaging.

It is painful to say this: Trayvon Martin is not a miscarriage of American justice, but American justice itself. This is not our system malfunctioning. It is our system working as intended. To expect our juries, our schools, our police to single-handedly correct for this, is to look at the final play in the final minute of the final quarter and wonder why we couldn't come back from twenty-four down.
The right is intent on using the Zimmerman case to prove that racism is no longer a force of any consequence in the U.S., that racism played no part in this tragedy, and that America at its core is truly good and just. All of that is not simply a lie, but a lie that disregards every fact of consequence in our history, and every fact that matters today. (For the record, I do not view it as possible that this is ever an innocent lie in any respect.)

The left's central crime in this affair is to have made the Zimmerman case an enormous cause in the first place. The analysis of the case I offer above was entirely available to anyone who paid any attention to this case almost from the beginning. This is a case that should never have been brought. While I agree with Coates' perspective, his level-headed approach is very rare for commentary from the left. What is most revealing about the left's treatment is what they refuse to discuss. With rare exceptions, they will not acknowledge the racism that lies at the heart of U.S. foreign policy, to which Obama is as fully committed as any of his predecessors. In fact, with his vast expansion of the Special Operations forces' operations, with his forays into Africa and the Far East -- to say nothing of the Obama administration's unceasing interference in the Middle East -- Obama has reinvigorated America's drive to global hegemony in ways that earlier presidents can only envy. In the same way, the left frequently refuses to admit the racism that undergirds the War on Drugs, which Obama continues with sickening zeal. And Obama's views on a wide range of issues perfectly mirror those of the white ruling class (see this for a more minor, but still nauseating, example).

While the right trumpets that racism must be dead, the left answers criticisms like mine with: "How can Obama be racist? He's black, for God's sake!" These are ridiculously stupid and ill-informed judgments. Their purpose is not to advance the truth, for they have nothing to do with the truth. Instead, the purpose of such claims is to strengthen tribal identity. (See "Learning to Hate 'The Other'" for a discussion of the dynamics of tribes in general, and of the formation of political tribes in particular.) It was to advance and inflame tribal cohesiveness that Obama interceded in the Martin case in the first instance, with his proclamation that: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." It was a disgustingly irresponsible statement. Its obvious, desired effect was to make people think: "Oh, my God! Zimmerman killed Obama's son!" So much for letting justice take its course unimpeded, in the absence of undue influence.

Obama seems to have a penchant for this kind of meddling. See this story from a few days ago, about the many problems certain of Obama's comments have created in the efforts to pursue those who may have committed sexual assaults in the military. Obama's remarks were a boon to defense lawyers, who can seize on them as "unlawful command influence." The man is an exceedingly dangerous menace in every area he touches, which is every area. My own view is that Obama simply didn't care that his statement might cause endless problems in the military cases. He loves wielding the enormous powers he has. He wanted absolute power, and now he has it, since he claims the "right" to murder anyone he chooses. And he loves every minute of it.

The demonstrations against the Zimmerman verdict continue, as the tribes play out their chosen roles. The demonstrations concern a case which should not have been brought, and which cannot support the constructions the right and left have placed on it. Meanwhile, wouldn't all those energies be far better directed if, for example, they were targeted against U.S. foreign policy? Or against the War on Drugs? Or against what is almost certainly the already irreversible rise of the surveillance state? But no: the right and left have learned their parts very well. All the arguments they need have been prefabricated, ready to be hauled out whenever the signal is given.

The Zimmerman case is yet another in an endless series of distractions. It is another bauble to be tossed around by the ever-busy writers and "activists" of this country's political factions. It is a means of fragmenting and splitting the people's political power, which would be far more meaningful -- and far more powerful -- if the warring factions could only be motivated to form strategic alliances. All those energies are safely directed into a non-threatening pathway -- while the ruling class continues to consolidate and expand its power over every one of us. To the extent the right and left play their parts with such enthusiasm, they do the ruling class's bidding. Most of those on the right and the left have enthusiastically placed themselves in service to the State, and the majority of them have no understanding whatsoever of their grievous failing.

At this point, I almost feel it's beside the point to blame the ruling class for this kind of thing. (Note: I continue to blame and condemn the ruling class without mercy.) What appalls me is how easy it is to distract the American public with incidents like this. Most Americans have been trained very thoroughly. The bell is rung, and they eagerly run to their designated positions. While they are entirely consumed with playing their meaningless roles in the affair of the moment, they pay no heed to the hell that is rising around them.

They'll finally recognize that hell soon enough, but only when it is far too late to do anything to stop it. From that perspective, I can certainly agree that the Trayvon Martin case is a terrible tragedy. But it not only the tragedy of one life ended far too soon. It is the ongoing tragedy of this nation, as it plummets into the nightmare from which there is no awakening.