For almost an hour, I debated with ex hippies/ protestors, who fought for change in the 60’s and 70’s. About how best to deal with todays racial strife, and economic inequalities. I suggested that, we give up the Protestant capitalist ethic, that states that; those with more, are favored by god. And those with less, are not favored by god. Their answer to my suggestion was, that they weren’t willing to give up, their hard earned cash, to help those in need. Then I explained to them, the Tudor system of hierarchy.
A system of class, status, and power, that remains a part of the American construct, to this day. I told them that, todays youth, want to divest themselves from the Tudor system. And that the youth of today, have their backs up against the wall, and are ready to die. Feeling that they have nothing to lose. The internet has become the great equalizer. The kids of today, with the click of a button. Can become part of a global society. They are living in a diverse, global network.
I basically told them that, they don’t have a choice anymore. And Trump is giving the American people, a false sense of security. By telling Americans, that he is the “Law and Order”, President. That is nothing, but a campaign slogan. Policing, has had a symptomatic approach to crime, since the middle of the 19th Century. The future of policing, is prevention. People don’t want to defund the police. But what is the alternative? Spending billions of our tax dollars, on new prisons.
The “Three Strikes” Law, is a failure. And has done nothing to deter crime. Only to have criminals shoot it out, to the death, with the police. Rather than spend decades in jail. With no chance of rehabilitation. Our law enforcement agencies, feel that the “The Strikes” Law. Has made their jobs, less safe. When I was a kid, America believed in investing in its future, its youth. All we do now, is beat them in streets. For doing their civic duty. Blaming our youth, for our inability to provide them with hope.
What they fail to understand, is that 400 years of slavery, and 100 years of racial discrimination, in every facet of life. Has massaged the minds, of not only black people. But has also massaged the minds, of white people. And left us all with a feeling of shame, and self-loathing. A shame and self-loathing that must be dealt with, for this nation to finally heal.
But sometimes there are rays of hope, like Civil Rights legislation , and anti- lynching laws. That starts to cover, the wound with a scab. And seeing the wound healing, people begin to have hope. But the death of George Floyd, just continues to tear off the scab, of justice, once again. Exposing the wound of injustice.
America as a whole, has a wound, that has not completely healed. But like one of the white men on the corner said, “the knife of slavery stabbed us. And the ending of slavery, only pulled the knife out of the body, but a few inches”. And it is that same knife, that is still painfully, in the body politic. We try to go to work, school, have relationships with others. But as we move about, that knife, touches up against nerves, bones, and muscles. We all feel the same pain, saying in unison “I CAN’T BREATH!”.
But even Barak Obama, did not have the balls, to sign the EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. I, had had enough. I finally told them, ” You guys had the Nixon Administration by the balls, and you let them go”. All that marching and protesting , was for not. It is your fault, that we are in this situation. We are in this situation, because you guys sold out”.
And that is why, revolutions never work. They never work, because the winners, become the new, status quo.
Out of the three men, only one of them, agreed to continue our conversation into the future. We would continue to strategize, on how to improve race relations, and the plight of poor.