Trayvon Martin

March 28, 2012

Some people believed that the election of the first African-American President was a sign that our Country had finally begun to break the brutal curse of racism that has forever been a part of our history. Well, if the irrational hatred President Obama by the political Right Wing wasn’t enough proof enough, the Trayvon Martin killing should put an end to that myth. This Country is as racist to its core as it has ever been. I am not just referring to the fact that a teenage boy was singled out and killed simply because he was walking while being black. I am referring more to the reaction of society to the murder after the fact.

Consider the Police investigating the shooting as a prime example of the institutional racism that pervades American society.  They knew that the perp was following a teenage boy contrary to their instruction to not follow him. They knew he didn’t want the “asshole” to get away with it (even thought there was no “it” to get away with). They knew he was 10 years older, armed and 100 lbs. heavier than the teen. They knew the teen was unarmed and carried only some candy, ice tea and a cell phone. They knew the perp had a history of assaulting a police officer in the past… you get the idea. Yet they took no evidence, distorted witness statements and let a man get away with murder (so far).

Can anyone honestly say that if the roles and races had been reversed that the police would have acted the same? Racists want to hide behind legal smoke screens like “probable cause” and the “stand your ground” law. Suspects are arrested all the time based on the pretext of probable cause far less compelling than this circumstance, and how does following a person against police advice constitute “standing his ground”?  Now the police are anonymously releasing “facts” about the teenager that have nothing to do with the murder, in an attempt to smear the victim of a crime they covered-up.

Consider the reaction of the media to the killing on right wing outlets. Fox News is combing the background of the victim to find any justification for being murdered. Geraldo Rivera blames the “hoodie” as much as the man who pulled the trigger for the death. His comments were as cruel to the parents as they were racist, but he gets away with it – because of racism. It is the old “blame the victim” ploy – she was wearing clothes that was asking for her to be raped excuse. To say that a person was shot not for what they did, but because of how they looked is blatantly racist.

On a personal note, as a man who has adopted two children of color, this incident is as frightening as it is instructive. I understand now that every parent of a black child must constantly instruct their child on how to dress and act to avoid being murdered out of a racist fear. I understand on a whole new level how a black man must be always aware of their body position, location and reactions… in the wrong place, with the wrong clothes, with their hands in the pockets or urge to run away from a threat it could mean being murdered with nothing more said. That is a racist society.

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Corruptibility

March 28, 2012

Forget about Illinois, New Jersey or Mississippi – The Center for Public Integrity has placed Michigan as one of the most corrupt States and I believe it. Political corruption has been a significant problem at least since the Engler Administration which ushered in the era of a government “of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation”.  Money rules in politics and for the longest time we have seen a steady erosion of good government – and I am not just referring to Detroit City mayors or Wayne County Commissioners. State Legislators have routinely taken to granting Corporations tax concessions which were justified as “jobs programs”, but in the end only protected jobs in the Legislature via corporate contributions.

Corporate money has also been heavily invested in elections of activist judges which has had the net effect of limiting citizen access to the courts and establishing corporate rights as the primary focus of the Law, at the expense of individual rights. The danger of course, is that sooner or later citizens will get fed up with a government that represents only the rights of the highest bidding corporation and then – well, that day may come sooner than they think. Let’s hope is it not after any possibility of political change has been completely eliminated by corporate money.

Money does corrupt, and money has been allowed to corrupt the political process, not just in Michigan, but across the country. Maybe it is time for a Constitutional Amendment rooting out the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics.