Someone sent me an email and asked if I think we are reliving the past, the 1960s? I am sure some people might believe that but No! I lived through the 1960s and would say that we are reliving all of the histories of white supremacy. It has always been like this! They have murdered and killed black people from the very creation of America, as they did with the Native American people. The feeling that the country, and the world, is careening out of control and gunplay is predictable though the identity of the victims is the seeds that have been sown or as Malcolm said, “The chickens have come home to roost”!
If I remember the 1960s correctly, this is what happened in 1968: Eighty thousand North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops seized the initiative by attacking some 100 cities and towns in a war that the Pentagon kept saying the war was all but won. Same story they are saying about ISIS and the current wars. An unrepentant racist declared his candidacy for President of the United States. Today, Donald Trump is like that guy!
And after a wave of urban riots, or rebellions, or whatever you wanted to call them, Americans stockpiled guns like white folk are doing now. An unarmed black man is killed by the “state” every other day in the most horrific manner, the difference today as opposed to then, we have cell phones and the events are captured on video. Remember Rodney King; that incident was caught on video, but they told us “we did not see what we thought we say” and that there was so much more before the video began. That does not work today!
Lunatic Fringes thrived in the heart of established institutions as did the racist did then. There were murders by the police then as they are now. They called police misconduct merely casual police beatings, and it was the black person’s fault because they just happen to die. Events then took place in the dark, backstage, and out of sight: now take place onscreen in living rooms.
Today black people wake up every morning thinking, My God, what next? Thinking is this end of times. Questioning whether it’s the apocalypse or the revolution has begun. From day to day, all that was predictable was that something unpredictable was on its way from hell. Last week, there was an unprecedented attack on the police by a black man they trained. You would think Nat Turner rose from is grave!
White folk are even more consumed with fear; this event was their worst nightmare! The sky’s darkened for them because so many chickens (guilt) came home to roost. Violence was, as one of the most incendiary African-American leaders accurately said, “it as American as apple pie.” And what was erupting wasn’t everyday violence, but the violence that shook and shattered shaky institutions and left millions of rattled Americans desperate for “law and order” at any cost.
Frankly, most white folk can hardly wrap his or her mind around the lunacy and viciousness, which had been some time in coming. So now here we are; it’s 2016 and a bullying serial fabricator, Trump, gleefully tosses insults at Muslims, Mexicans, reporters, rivals and women whose shapes are not to his liking. He hosts a one-man Twitter revolution of hate, retweeting neo-Nazi images, is the Republican candidate and proudly proclaims “America First” as his triumphal slogan. What he is really saying “Make America White Again”!
In 1968, the several thousand war protesters who headed to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, many of whom wound up (along with reporters) attacked by police, were unarmed. In 2016, a group of white supremacist skinheads, fresh from stabbing six counter-demonstrators in Sacramento, pledge to be at Cleveland’s Republican convention to “defend” Trump supporters from “leftist thugs.”
In 2016, as in 1968 police shot and often killed unarmed African-Americans. Then, from the successes and failures of the nonviolent civil rights movement, the Black Panther Party grew by brandishing guns and sometimes turning them on police in urban ghettoes. In 2015 and 2016, a widespread, largely nonviolent “Black Lives Matter” movement was kindled, and despite the claim by FBI Director James Comey that police are forced to restrain themselves as crime-fighters because of a “viral video effect,” the killings continue. Now we see them in incendiary opponents and sometimes live on video. And now, in Dallas, an apparently lone African-American sniper, possibly with help from a program called CONINTEL has shot and killed police officers.
In 1968, the most violent force in the world was the Pentagon and the photos that horrified an American allies blowing out the brains of a prisoner on a Saigon street, and, later, children and women dead at the hands of American troops in a Vietnamese ditch. Today, the horrendous photos show beheadings by murder zealots joy-riding on some mad idea of Islamic justice. Black men, women, and children are gunned down and abused by police in numbers never before seen. The numbers of such killings have only risen in the 22 months since the video of Michael Brown lying dead in the street in Ferguson went viral.
But there is one huge difference between then and now. Then we had a Nixon and today we have Trump and his ilk, and both parties are falling apart. They try to weld traditional small-business Republicans, old-style New Deal haters and white supremacists offended by the straight-out segregationist George Wallace into a victorious bloc. It is crisis time; race hatred is accompanied by incomprehensible threats from abroad, and unpredictable terror attacks have whites losing their minds with fear.
The paranoid strain runs deep in American history, its called racism! When Facebook is believed to be more reliable than government reports, and today there is no Walter Cronkite entering your living room to certify that there’s a reality that can be shared across political lines, and traditional media is deemed unreliable; the decline of authority is not just a phrase. It is real, and the powers that be have lost control. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…