Friday, July 8, 2016

Then and Now: A Nation Awash with Blood, Torn by Racially Driven Violence, Unwilling to Learn — My Reflections on Dallas Shootings

Charles Pierce, Politics Blog at Esquire

The universe has physical laws: For every action, there's a reaction.

The universe also has moral laws: 

1. Those who take the sword (or gun) die by the sword (or gun).  
2. Violence breeds violence.  
3. Injustice is a form of violence.  
4. If you want peace, work for justice.

For those who lived through the 1960s, this current blood-soaked summer in the U.S. cannot help but evoke painful memories of a decade in which the following occurred:

1. A president was assassinated in Dallas. 
2. His brother, the attorney general, was gunned down. 
3. Martin Luther King was murdered. 
4. Medgar Evers was shot and killed getting into his car after a meeting with the NAACP. 
5. The bodies of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman were discovered in a shallow grave near Philadelphia, Mississippi, where they had been registering black citizens to vote. 
6. A black church in Birmingham was bombed, with four little girls dying as a result. 
7. James Meredith was gunned down walking from Memphis to Jackson in support of black voting rights. 
8. John Lewis and others supporting civil rights were beaten savagely with clubs by police on Edmund Pettus bridge. 
9. Viola Liuzzo was murdered for her work trying to register black citizens to vote. 
10. Malcolm X was assassinated, and on and on.

That decade in which the nation was awash in blood due to racial injustice ended with battles between police and protesters at the Democratic National Convention which helped put the crooked, immoral Richard Nixon in the White House and paved the way for a decade of racially fueled reaction and fantasy that would bring the B-grade actor and fantasist Ronald Reagan, whose wife made key decisions for him in consultation with an astrologer, to the White House. Even as the nation's white Christians, many of us, celebrated St. Ron and St. Nancy as saviors of family values, and even as we cheered them on when they fantasized about the AIDS crisis that began on their watch, refusing to admit it was happening, refusing to do anything at all to reach out to those affected by it . . . .

Years of fantasy followed about morning in America and making America great again, as the nation reveled in pretending and denying — denying its legacy of racial injustice, denying the pictures we saw each evening in the 1970s as we ate our supper watching the news, seeing a little Vietnamese girl running down a road with fire from an American napalm bomb streaming out of her back, seeing one American soldier after another returning home in body bags from a god-damned war going god-damned nowhere good, seeing American college students gunned down by Guardsmen at a peaceful protest in Ohio.

Blood. More blood. Injustice breeding violence leading to greater levels of injustice breeding more violence. Every action has its reaction. Injustice creates violence. If you want peace, work for justice.

This was not so very long ago. It appears, though, that many of us never learned the lessons we should have learned in that decade of blood — or we were unwilling to learn. And the end result of our moral turpitude and stupidity may very well be to place an amoral con artist in the White House following the Dallas shootings.

(Clicking the graphic will make it enlarge and become easily readable.)

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