Everybody's so busy wanting to be down
with the gang.
"I'm conservative", "I'm liberal",
"I'm conservative". Bullshit!
Be a fucking person! Lis-ten!
Let it swirl around your head.
Then form your opinion.
No normal, decent person is one thing, okay?
The cops reported you as just an another homicide
But I can tell that you were just frustrated
From living with Murder Incorporated
one may smile, and smile,
and be a villain
--Hamlet, I. v
Rounding out race week: What it means to be liberal.
One of Ranger's associates once asked me, "So what are you?" after their discussion of their early years in Catholic school. "I'm a human" I said (thank you John Lennon), so absurd seemed the question, as though he could draw a bead on me via such categorization.
So how do we know who anyone is? We have been discussing the rush to judgement this week on the Trayvon Martin case. In legal matters, we come to know what's relevant based upon the workings of our legal system. If we no longer have faith in the process, we have a problem.
The quick and severe sectarianism even in the legitimate press over this issue has been shocking. Among the commentariat, if one sides for the guilt of Zimmerman, one is correctly liberal, and if one calls for delegating the matter to the authorities, one must be a bigot. I am confounded by the majority of my supposed fellows who cannot countenance my position of non-outrage over the non-revealed facts.
To be a liberal thinker is to be broad-minded and inclusive, to consider as many angles as possible, and to shut off no option until it becomes a dead-end or fails to jibe with the preponderance of the data one ingathers. Yet -- it seems today, liberal equates with toeing the party line, swallowing an agenda, being either-or. How did thought become so factionalized and such a bully point?
In the Martin case, what does this imply, this imperative to whitewash any possible culpability of the killed member of a confrontation if he is black and his killer is not? I am not making any judgement here, but simply asking the questions. Is this another opportunity for the anti-gun crowd to argue their agenda?
We have a race problem in this country; of this there is no doubt. It is Hobbesian in proportion, as it really is all against all. Of course, this is not admitted in polite company, but if you drive a mile across Division Street in most towns, you'll see it. It is confusing why we cannot seem to get it together. Part of the problem is that we are not brave enough to speak about it; part is that we -- none of us -- do not even understand it. Magical thinking -- not acknowledging the problem or erasing any culpability is not solving it.
There are some nuts and bolts deficiencies, but there are esoteric and philosophical aspects, too. It may be that people always need a scapegoat. Maybe we are lazy and scared, or angry, or a little of all. What seems clear is that we like to be outraged and like to feel righteous, but still, NIMBY rules the day for most.
I loved the "Portlandia" clip about the principles deep and abiding concern for the provenance and well-being of the chicken they were ordering at a restaurant, but the bottom line? They are going to eat Harold the chicken, providing his upbringing is devoid of enough terror so as not to upset their delicate equilibrium after ingesting him. And this is not to bang Portland (how wonderful to have a microbrew - cafe culture; I wish we had such a thing!)
So you can gussy it up and make eating meat a little more palatable, or you can stop eating it altogether. Your degree of conviction is what is on the chopping block.
All I'm saying is, we have some race problems, and we have people entrenched on both sides of the matter. The problem cannot be solved through outrage over one incident which only got print because of some salacious thinking in the hardcore liberal circles. The problem is not going to be fixed by throwing money at it; it is intransigent, and has thus far resisted the solutions offered.
So, you can get up in arms at the police, or call people pansies for not walking in the Tenderloin or being suspicious of a guy with a hoodie pulled over his head. But it's all about place and time, concealment and intent: A burqa, niqab or a chadri would arouse similar suspicions in our terror-fearing world, and what to do about that?
I'll stick with my original statement: Martin's death would have been a non-starter, save for some crime reporter picking up up on the novelty of the name of the shooter. By the time it went national, the reporters had only just discovered that Zimmerman was not only not white, that he was, in fact Hispanic and Catholic.
The Jewish students who campaigned for and died fighting in the American Civil Rights Movement are forgotten; it is a long-known sociological phenomenon that those who help pull you up are later resented for the inequity of power which they once represented.
In one of the more grotesque examples of the hatred in the Left, the radical's darling rag, CounterPunch (The Second Killing of Trayvon Martin), describes Zimmerman as "a pathetic, chubby, Chaz-Bono-lookalike" -- boy that really makes you bust a gut, huh?
Writer Eskow goes on to enjoy more schadenfreude at Zimmerman's expense: "Any man who lived through public high school knows George Zimmerman, and may well have had occasion to kick his ass," because, you know, George is fat and pathetic, and looks like a transgendered individual. Hey, let's laugh at some she-males ... do we feel bigger, yet?
And the final line delivers the knock-out punch: Zimmerman has "a shyster lawyer" -- surprise, surprise. So, dammit, we have missed the bus on finding a Jew perpetrator, but we can surely skewer a Jew sort-of accessory to the fact, right?
I see this media lynch mob as a prime example of racist bullying, and racism is racism. If you want to present as anti-racism Mr. Eskow, et. al, it would be really good if you were not racist.
So the liberals do the weighing act, and I guess up against the shysters and the alternatively-gendered buffoons, Mr. Martin in his hoodie is looking pretty good. Is this the best we can do in our efforts to ferret prejudicial rot out of our society?
You are either all in about civil rights and human rights and trust in the rule of law, or you wallow in a personal miasma in which you are constantly tallying up the score of least-reviled individuals based on your proximity to the perceived threat.
It looks like easy outrage has trumped rationality for the moment.