Wednesday 12 August 2020

Owning the opposition in any era

He had believed himself to have Facebooked a flight to a thousand & one likes. Click on this soul destroying link to see what happened next.

If I've said it once, I've typed it here at least twice. The problem with apologetics in support of historical figures is not just that it's another level of myth-making. It also relegates figures who might be more worthy of mythologising to the junkpile of historical afterthought. "Slavery was legal," discounts the moral standing of the abolitionist. Try to imagine who an abolitionist would be in today's currency, because that person will be just as mired beneath figures like Lincoln, who everyone credits with the abolition of slavery, the only point of contention being his intent.

Slavery apologist Type I likes to insist that the freeing of the slave was done in spite of Abe's self, and that he was anything but honest. Apologist Type II might admit to the seriousness of his repatriation considerations, i.e. deportation plan. To the most doe-y eyed American innocent that sounds too absurd to be true. I imagine his musings were as serious as when the current president mused about bleach, except that the former kept it to his inner circle. If the reaction to the latter is any indication, history will tell us that he'd recommended its injection to cure Covid. The idea that simply supposing such a thing out loud might be irresponsible, what with the level of human intelligence being what it is, is already an afterthought. It's the times and has always been thus. You might be able to find accurate history, but you'll have to wade through a sewer of mythology.

It is the times, is it not? I mean, is it not the times when you have to wonder how the Wendy's employee who called the cops feels? How the person feels who called 9-1-1 to report a kid with what they'd supposed was a toy gun? How the person feels who called to report that he thinks he got a fake twenty? I'll leave aside for the moment the legality of selling a carton of cigarettes versus the illegality of buying them and then making yourself the new retailer.

The people who love the cop callers no doubt tell them not to blame themselves. It was, after all, not their bullets or knees that led to the black death, an era that, no matter how you slice it up, leads all the way back to when it was the times to trade in people blacker than whoever's doing the buying. Speaking of which, given that human trafficking is still of our times, whether it's the sexualised variety facilitated by buddy to Presidents Don & Bill, Jeffrey Epstein, or the entirely racist based version in the aftermath of the NATO destruction of Libya, I wonder how Nicolas Sarkozy (or for the wonky historian Bernard-Henri Levy) feels about calling the cops on Gaddafi now. I'll speculate that Hillary Clinton loses more sleep over losing her election than she does the delivery of darker skinned ethnicities of northern Africa into bondage. But I'm not a historian, those people who probably fall along the spectrum of more seriously considered litigation, whereby the former Secretary of State either regrets what had to be done, or didn't do anything wrong in the least.

And anyway, those were the times, 2011. Ah, yes. When a president was presidential. A leader worthy of the word. A man who had the courage to admit that we tortured people, and admit it in such a folksy manner worthy of his admiration for being both scholarly and down-to-earth.

Not like the unworthy and unqualified-to-lead guy now, who is as many as six decades behind the times, unless all those black people were on meth or crack or PCP. Then he's only as little as six months in retrograde or as many as as three presidential administrations, before which a First Lady could still call a spade a spade (i.e. dog-whistle about super-predators) to bolster her husband's tougher stance on crime among the bourgeois feminist electorate, who'll be clutching their pearly white consciences in fear of a black planet all the way to their great-grandchildren's college graduations.

Ah, how one longs for the times before these ones... when not downplaying their hideousness. The historical importance of a black man as president versus his driving the getaway car for his predecessor-in-war-crimes, and then ushering historic amounts of wealth from bottom to top, and setting records for deportations and the prosecution of whistleblowers. Who would have thought that after so much progress he'd be trumped by a guy so petty and vengeful that he's plausibly motivated solely to break all of the records the black guy set?

What better times they would be if the powers aggregated to the American presidency had instead been passed along as they were supposed to have been, to another historically significant glass ceiling shatterer whose awareness of historical moments is downright Caesarian. In fairness, when she joked,  "We came. We saw. He died!" it was not known that Gaddafi had been sodomised with a bayonet. Still, the apologia for the treatment of the former Libyan president resembles the same wherever one is quick to point out that a person lacked the innocence required to avoid execution.

In the interest of accuracy, one might go to great pains to point out that with the color of the skin of the occupant of the White House relative to the US policy, we have slam dunk evidence of the systemic nature of all of its ills. Arguably, however, a more profitable journalism just juxtaposes the utterly modern and moderate black White House with the incredibly craven and corrupt version we see today, horrifyingly vindictive and utterly white.

With that in mind, it is the times in which it is apparently too difficult to understand why the phrase "all lives matter" is, at its most innocent, latently racist, in that it refuses to consider the conscious and unconscious inequality considered and not considered vis a vis skin color when the cops arrive to a call. After the fact, it is the extent to which one will consider every other factor other than skin color when evaluating what went down. Is it fair to be at pains to ignore those factors? During times where people call the cops to solve each of the problems that led to the black death, you'd have to say it is not fair, but... one who is truly interested in fairness and equality might want to consider more than just the times, or expand the era in consideration.

We do, after all, methodically reconstruct events that lead to others to enable fairer adjudication, albeit in times that have led to a statute of limitations, which, depending on your application of the language, precludes or not that which got us here.

Does not the sewer of modern mythology include the tedious stink that disregards where we might really find ourselves along a spectrum of bad apple analogies and the systemic racist policy, thank god so Progressive that a darker color of cop force and the big office holders who woo their unions might also disregard black lives, relatively, and even consider them less worthy when living in either fear or hatred of them?

How far behind the times does one have to be to be retrograde? Was the jury who acquitted those officers of the LAPD in the 1990s persuaded because of the defense argument that they were trying to subdue a dangerous man on a drug rampage, who, after all, was not yet cuffed? Wasn't he, too, a superpredator? I dunno. I'd like to see a version of their Twelve Angry Men before making that judgement, but I have my suspicions.

Surely kneeling on a cuffed man's neck is behind the times. Yet, the times tell us that it is not. The times tell us that Black Americans find themselves often enough on the wrong side of the law that there is no use of force that results in their deaths in or near police custody that cannot be justified by the police themselves when it's in response to delicts that range from brandishing a toy gun or failing to signal, shoplifting cigars and bullying a shop-owner, to being known to sell loose cigarettes or probably having just passed off a fake twenty. The dispute between the chiefs and the unions brings to mind the southern Democrat, strong on labor, not so much on civil rights.

And those who would rehabilitate Robert E. Lee, are they not as well on good enough standing as it relates to the times in which he had found himself? Oh, no. Not if you compare him to his opposite number just north of the imaginary line between worthy and unworthy of apologetics. To use such apologetics on behalf of General Lee takes General Grant for granted, right? But Grant didn't speak out on the evil of the Mexican-American war until it was entirely too late, which is convenient for both the war itself and the further mythologising of his goodness as it relates to his statue versus that of Lee. Are there no Americans who 'll justify the toppling of any great big pile of steaming mythology?

We live in times wherein you cannot leave it to the apologists for any kind of politics to research and find comparable situations in which white lives were extinguished under similar circumstances. You can count on certain people highlighting any time one was, or was not. I allude to videos posted by white guns rights activists brandishing real assault weapons on the open street as what they claim to be a reasonable test of their rights, who live to post it to YooToob. One interpretation is that the cops treat them with kid gloves relative to how they would their black counterparts, themselves being interpreted by others as belligerent towards men in uniform, whatever the context. And it's always a super-drug that is probably fuelling their super-predatory belligerence.

It is the times when the challenging opposition need nominate a tough on crime black woman to reel 'em to the polls and lock 'em up when they aren't looking. Exaggeration? Maybe. But there's an inner Karen in the party to appease, and who better than a token exterior who's record justifies their calling the cops to excuse them? Sound familiar?

Yet, still, there exist abolitionists in today's currency. Inflation keeps them from holding office, not that it would matter. That's a thought experiment for another time.