The Problem With Truth, Is That It Is Unwanted

Everyone has his version of the truth but seldom share it. Whether it’s the taste, the smell or whatever, the ugly thing can help you lose friends and create bitter enemies. I wonder if it’s because once acknowledged, the truth will not leave until you do or stop doing, a particular wrong. Our criminal justice system is an apt example.

Let’s take the current situation in Missouri. Not that it’s unique. Far cry. But because it is active, makes that a good example, willing to say a textbook case of what leadership is not. Step back with me a bit.

Jay Nixon was a two-term Democratic governor when Ferguson managed to make world news. That was due to the police killing of Michael Brown and the conduct of the entire criminal justice system in Missouri. As Gov Nixon and Ferguson Mayor Knowles went into hiding for four days, the police were left to “pacify” peaceful protesters. No one could have imagined police management to be that inept, or any criminal justice system is so inbred and corrupted.

The current governor Eric Greitens is a Republican. He never went into hiding, but nothing says “I don’t know what to do”, like readying the National Guard to control a relatively small number of cooperating protesters. So far, more than 150 persons have been arrested for petty misdemeanors, especially not moving when told by the police.

Both dealt with protesters as the problem. Neither appeared capable of confronting and addressing the root of the problem. But quite willing to talk tough and use force.

No civic-minded person supports lawlessness. So let’s agree conditionally: lock them up if their behaviors are imminent threats to public safety. Not because the police told them to move. Do we have a Constitution or not? If the answer is doubtful (as it’s becoming) repeat next year and the years afterward. Finally, both the state and protesters would be locked in an increasingly dysfunctional, dangerous way of life. The state CANNOT win. That would be despite being a police state, as America already is.

Right now, both Blacks and Whites, males and females are being threatened and arrested. How long do the state and local governments think that they can keep this up? I’ll hazard a guess. When you stop seeing truth as the enemy.

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We Hang Murderers, Well, Some Of Them We Do

 No one has the moral authority to kill another human being.

Once we start from that premise and understand that capital punishment rests on a foundation of muck created by men, there’s nothing more that needs to be said.  It is legal only because they say that it’s legal. It is legal because of citizens, who ought to be repulsed by shameless lawmakers, who use “tough on crime” to secure votes, permit that. It behooves our electorate to inform ourselves of the history surrounding the subject.

The fact of its immorality means that capital punishment cannot ever be justified and constitutionally acceptable. Running back and forth to the United States Supreme Court, to collectively ponder whether a particular case meets the test, the artificial standard, of “cruel and unusual punishment” is redundant and ridiculous. Being so because the actions of the State create circumstances of suffering that make it cruel and unusual.

But capital punishment extends further in its obscenity, corrupting each individual who facilitates the killing, from the judge who claims she’s only following the law, to the governor whose bloody hand approves the evil, all the way down to the brute that seeks the vein to administer the poison. Each participant, at every stage, makes a personal decision to kill the particular human being. There’s no excuse. Nothing decent can be found in what you chose to do. Stop the barbarity.

Freedom, Human Rights and Other Hypocrisies 

I woke up optimistic and went back to bed disillusioned. So I thought the least that I might do is bring attention to the plight of African-Americans caught up in America’s Criminal Justice System. An institution, if not by design, then surely by malice, IS determined to eliminate that particular segment of citizens. A protracted war could not have inflicted more suffering and human destruction. America’s Criminal Justice System is by practice, an evil institution. 

One hears grudging admissions such as “well, the system is overwhelmed.” Platitudes about reform and trust building initiatives. If you refuse to believe that America can sort a billion Chinese, to find one prisoner unjustly incarcerated, then vehemently condemn China at international forums, as we do much the same at home, then I’m with you, because it’s truly incredible. So, the attached, though fictional, is worth imagining. 

Especially Now, Why Trust U.S Government With Capital Punishment 

If you hear approaching hoof beats in the night, you’re not crazy. That is, unless you suppose them to be gambolling donkeys in heat. Be alarmed, inquire and assure yourself of what is.

The reason I posted this petition in its entirety, is to raise awareness of the unwise position of allowing this monstrous republican autocracy to have power to further misuse the death penalty.

Though no cogent argument favours the death penalty, and we know that in the United States innocent persons have been intentionally executed by the state, certain recent behaviours done in our name ought to shock every citizen of conscience.

The United States Supreme Court found that some recent cases, met the definition of  cruel and unusual punishment. When that happened, one would think that the governors who employed every legal manoeuvre to kill another human being, would reflect on the reasons they are so ardent in seeking those deaths. Not with governor Rick Scott of Florida. He went twice, appealing and fixing errors to carry on legally, his immoral and ghoulish mission. His peers in other states, did worse -deciding to just shoot the convict, saving themselves the trouble of appeals. But there’s a decent state attorney in Florida, Aramis Ayala, who will not join  governor Rick Scott’s blood fest. Please, please lend your support to what is morally just.
BREAKING: Gov. Rick Scott might try to remove Florida’s first Black head prosecutor from office simply because she did the right thing–and we have to stop him. Will you sign the petition?
Aramis Ayala is part of the less than one percent of Black women who are head prosecutors in the country. Last week, she took a heroic step and pledged not to seek the death penalty, and Rick Scott wrongfully removed her from a key case–even though Ayala was supported by the victim’s family in her decision. Now, he might be trying to get her out of office permanently?!
This is an attack on democracy and Black political leadership. Aramis Ayala’s bold move is in direct response to the needs of the voters who put her in office. Yet, Gov. Scott is overstepping his authority and sending a scary and unfair message: the voters’ choice in who they elect to serve justice does not matter.

Demand Governor Rick Scott respect the people’s choice, reverse his decision and put State Attorney Aramis Ayala back on the case.

This is about more than just the death penalty. Black communities and our allies have built a movement over the last year to replace the worst prosecutors with leaders who want to change the system from the inside out–like Aramis Ayala and Kim Foxx in Chicago. Just like every other movement that has built power for Black people, this movement is being met with anti-Blackness, right wing resistance, and anti-democratic tactics intended to keep our communities trapped under the leadership of white conservatives.

We’ve seen it before. After the election of the first Black President, we saw a wave of voter suppression laws intended to constrain Black political power and right-wing politicians refusing to let President Obama conduct the most basic aspects of his duties like appointing a Supreme Court Justice. We have to send a clear signal that when it comes to real leaders like Aramis Ayala, we’ve got their backs.
Governor Rick Scott must let state attorney Aramis Ayala do her job. Tell him to reverse his decision NOW.
During his tenure, Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly failed to step up to other state attorneys when they did not serve justice. He shunned the family of Trayvon Martin. In 2012, when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by cop wannabe George Zimmerman, Governor Scott moved too slowly to pursue justice for the teenage boy and his family. It was only after urgent pleas from protesters and community members that Scott finally stepped up and appointed a special prosecutor. But who he appointed was damaging–Angela Corey–whom he knew would support his “Stand Your Ground” law where he saw fit. Instead of fighting for justice, Corey allowed Zimmerman to get off. Since then, the Governor hasn’t done a thing about the criminalization of Black folks or the laws that allow them to be killed in cold blood.
Yet, Governor Scott did not even wait a day to take State Attorney Aramis Ayala off this crucial case, diminishing and undermining her position as a prosecutor. He is sending a scary and unfair message — the voters’ choice in who they elect to serve real justice does not matter.
Local prosecutors are the most influential decision makers in the criminal justice system and their work has an enormous impact on the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Our communities cannot afford to have elected leaders put their own interests and power above the people. That is why Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala–someone who will stay committed to making justice a reality for all people–is the kind of leader that we need. We cannot stand by and let someone like Governor Rick Scott silence her and the voters who elected her to fix our criminal justice system. Let’s show up for Ayala’s bravery and integrity.
Sign the petition.
Until Justice is real
Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Clarise, Anay, Enchanta, Malaya, and the rest of the Color of Change Team
References:

“State attorney likely to be booted, WFTV analysts predict,” Orlando Sentinel, 03.19.2017 http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/tv/tv-guy/os-et-state-attorney-likely-to-be-booted-20170319-story.html

“Gov. Scott appoints special prosecutor after Ayala says she won’t pursue death penalty, ” Orlando Sentinel, 03.16.2017. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-aramis-ayala-no-death-penalty-20170316-story,amp.html

“Father of Sade Dixon speaks out about prosecutor’s stance on death penalty, ” Fox 35, 03.16.2017.
http://www.fox35orlando.com/news/local-news/242166846-story

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  It was Sojourner Truth (1787-1883) who, her patience worn thin, famously said “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them and not be talking about it”.
This is usually the place where the debaters, soi disant theorists  and the attention starved, step in to impress us with demands for a definition of what power is; what is meant by rights and so on. I am quite satisfied with Stokley Carmicael’s answer when called to the rabbit hole by a certain radio journalist, “Everybody knows what power is, let’s not waste time on that”. Stokley said, his frustration barely not showing.

I am writing this in the conviction that one has to be very naive to not notice and be concerned about conflicts occurring across the world. For me, I’ll limit myself to  what’s happening in America, where the fissures grow and the edges crystallize.  I believe that the rot in government started way back in the sixties. The Civil Rights Movement tore away the the illusion of the Kings’ clothes, and new boogeymen could not be manufactured fast enough. So they settled for “Morning in America”. Some parts of the country were told that they were happy. Fast forward to 2008 audacity of Obama.

More damage was done to this country by the powers behind the Republican Party leadership than an enemy could have ever done. Racists held fast, vilification of the elected president amplified and then out jumped people who had no business running the politics of the United States. Said thirty-year Senator Mitch McConnell, (GOP) Ky- then Senate Majority Leader, “Our goal is to make Barak Obama a one term president”.  Black people and Liberals said, hell, no you won’t and the chasm moved wider. Think about it. That is a policy statement of one of the most developed countries.

When a power base is threatened it marshals its forces. First and best to use are propaganda, courts, then bullies and thugs, the latter in or out of uniforms. They are permitted to do unspeakably atrocious violence. Are we there yet? I think so. Unless one looks at the surge in police murders with no consequences as disparate actions. It cannot be happenstance that all across the country state attorneys give away get-out-of-jail-free-cards as certain demographics cache armouries in their homes. Now at the same time, where are the men? In prisons. I might be wrong. We’ll know sooner than later.