by Don Washington on 2012/04/10
I’ve not written anything about the Trayvon Martin shooting or the endless to near pointless coverage of it because I know it to be tip of an ugly thing this country is not going to ever face and believe it or not that ugly thing is deeper than racism and printed on this country’s DNA like a curse from Satan’s lips. Trayvon was shot down in the streets of his father’s neighborhood because society gave Mr. Zimmerman permission to kill him. People of good faith and non-violent confrontation everywhere had best understand the forces we face and the force they are allowed to use on us because permission has been granted.
Society also gave permission to kill Dr. George Tiller, Bradon Teena, Rep. Gabby Giffords, the Knoxville Unitarian Church congregation members, Shawn Bell, Matthew Shepherd, Rekia Boyd and Shaima Alawadi and all Mr. Zimmerman and these other people did was accept the responsibility for doing what society wanted. I can say this because permission has been granted.
These men were given permission to enforce the natural order of things as ordained by God, informed and encouraged by legitimate media and political leaders and written into law by society itself. So what is the natural order of things? God rules over just governments, just governments rule over man, men rule over women, white people rule over all other people, straight people rule over gay people and the strong rule over the weak. In this world there is no such thing as social justice or equality and liberty is the freedom to act within and to defend the natural order. We who are the inheritors of King and Gandhi, Parsons and Haywood need to steel ourselves against an assault that has never stopped and keeps growing because permission has been granted.
As you can see the natural order of things is not hard to understand and acting to defend it is not hard to endorse or justify. In fact doing so, to engage in the call to violence seems not much more than a cry for justice and stability… the conservative thing to do. Progressives and liberals who believe in the common, public good are called upon to meet this hate with clarity and we will need the capacity to both withstand it and overcome it. We need to meet it with a call for justice and a vision of what is better to come because they have been given permission to take our souls from us. They can do so because we are unhallowed secular humanists, the unnatural non-Bible-believing Christians and the undeserving poor or their defenders and permission has been granted to put an end to us.
These people with permission are angry because everything about me and about the world is always upside down. God does not rule over this government and striking a blow to make it so makes good sense. Maybe a Planned Parenthood Clinic needs to be bombed. Maybe the President is from Kenya because everything about him from being black to bi-racial violates every inch of the natural order. It doesn't matter that he acts make government stronger and tries to make them feel at home with how unnatural he is. Maybe we should have prayer in schools, defensive marriage, sonograms for women and strip searches for those who defy the natural order because one day, when God is in place, these people will need to be kept in their places. This is true because permission has been granted.
They will always be angry because even in a theocracy there will be someone to blame and rage against who is not natural enough. Mr. Zimmerman, after all, is not white enough to receive the protection of the white “civil rights” group that is now patrolling his city in ironically black combat fatigues. These people with permission are becoming bolder and bolder as we, as a people, get further away from our government and the feeling that we have any agency over its actions. So while we turn out in the streets and attempt to seize control of democracy with words and civics they have permission to carry weapons and execute us and those they identify as us. The truth of the matter is that it is open season on people like me but I am reminded that it always is.
It is open season on me because I’m black or because I’m liberal, or because I will defend the rights of gay people or Palestinian people or criminals or any other human because to be human is to have rights. Every day I am reminded how contingent and barely tolerated my very existence actually is. I and everyone like me, who can be perceived and believed to be other, is only as safe as least stable and irrational member of those with permission decides I am. You know what I’m telling you is true because permission has been granted.
So please understand that I’m talking about hierarchy, impunity and the implicit understanding is that conservatives believe that they have permission to do whatever they want to defend the natural order of things at any level of power they inhabit. What I am telling you is that the same impulse that expelled a dying poor, black woman from a St. Louis hospital so she could die on a jailhouse floor is the same one that animates Patriot groups on the border and empowers a Tennessee legislature to outlaw “gateway” sexual activity and the teaching of evolution because permission has been granted.
I am saying as plainly as I can that the difference between voting to take away voting rights and the willingness to run over a black kid in a go-cart with your SUV as a woman did in Pearland Texas are intimately connected. Sometimes there are real consequences and sometimes there are none. What we have to remember and never forget is that we are a nation that is spiraling downward and fighting to fly because permission has been granted.
The differences between George Zimmerman and John Derbyshire are negligible and their punishments instructive. Zimmerman has only today been charged with something and Derbyshire will continue to write for money as a well-paid and even respected conservative columnist. All Derbyshire did, after all, was bravely point out what the natural order is and all Zimmerman did was Stand His Ground and enforce that order.
The string of malice that wraps square-knot fast between those with permission loops around Rep. Gabby Gifford’s near assassination and forms an unbreakable line of xenophobic, reactionary zeal that is fed mainstream commentators, because that’s what Fox, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly are. Every day they and Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rep. Paul, Sen. Paul, Sen. Inhofe and Gov. Rick Scott race-bait, incite, frighten, misinform and give permission to millions of people who share this country with me and you. They give them permission to defend the natural order by any means necessary and so when some of them do no one should be surprised. It is why we are find ourselves spiraling downward and fighting to fly because permission has been granted. I was raised by hard, hopeful people. Realistic people, desperate dreamers and sometimes reluctant but always ready warriors who did not and still do not know the words… I surrender.
I have spent the last four years watching and confronting the intolerable. I’ve listened to I’ve watched the Tea Party bring loaded guns to healthcare forums and brandish them at elected officials… even the President of the United States and counter-organized against them. I’ve seen right-wing extremists attempt to assassinate members of the House of Representatives, place bombs alongside Civil Rights Celebration Parade Routes and eradicate Mexican-American studies because they cannot eradicate Mexican-American people because permission has been granted.
Fighting to fly, ultimately that’s what it’s all about. We, you and I and people of good faith who believe in things like equality and social justice… things that go against the natural order of things are fighting to fly. We know that the reason they’ve been given permission to do anything necessary to defend the natural order of things is because our system is reaching the point where it will either reach for solutions or scapegoats. What they are being given permission to do is justify, persecute and if need be execute scapegoats to keep us from flying… and coming up with solutions that embedded in a more just politics. Anyone who gives up or walks away from the lifetime of work, defeats, victories and uncertainty in front of us was not raised by hard, hopeful people. Anyone who gives in to cynicism and despair now is not worthy of the great, good fortune to be born right here in what remains of the land of the less than free and the home of we all are going to have to be very brave. We are going to have to be braver because we have to stop the spiral and start flying again.
The redistribution of wealth, the quest for a more equitable society is not about taking from someone to give something to someone else. It is instead, requiring those who taken so much from society to give back enough to the country so that it will not collapse into anarchy and bloodshed… Which is the natural order of things if you don’t believe in evolution or the innate goodness humanity. We are spiraling downward and fighting to fly but I am willing to lay down my life in non-violent, civic action, to make sure that we take wing and I know that I am not alone. Solutions not scapegoats… let’s stop spiraling downward and fighting to fly. We must create a world through confrontation, redemption, reconciliation and accountability that denies these people the permission that they think comes from on high but really emanantes from the little demons that nest in all of our souls. They no longer have permission to do violence on us all because in the end truth and mercy will outlast lies and revenge.
Don Washington is an AP-Award winning writer, political expediter and problem-solver, proprietor of the agitational, informational, interactive website and show the Mayoraltutorial.com. You can follow him as drobsidian on Twitter and he is the keeper of one large and very intelligent cat.