Sunday, 14 July 2013


There was a heavy air of grief at the Union Square rally this afternoon. A silent circle expressed the speechlessness of many at the grotesque injustice of seeing George Zimmerman go free after stalking and killing a teenager minding his own business. Will this outrage alert our sleep-walking fellow bipeds that all is not well in our justice system?

It is hardly news to non-white citizens, but the rest of us have been lulled into indifference by the smooth PR leadership of our non-white president while he systematically deepens the Bush-era dismantling of the few remaining protections that keep us marginally safe from arbitrary abuse.

There ‘may be flaws in the justice system’ cautiously intone our newscasters on NY1 cable. Ya think? And yet the ongoing scandals of trumped-up charges against people of Arab descent or Muslim belief by an out-of-control security state draw scarcely a yawn—protect us at all costs! cry the easily persuaded, thinking that the powerful have their safety and welfare in mind.

Is this unfair? Does the spying, dungeon-running state really have anything to do with the racist habits of yesteryear rearing their ugly head through this legal lynching? We condemn Zimmerman for profiling Trayvon Martin, but we give the NYPD a pass to stop and frisk a half million black teenagers and the FBI to profile and entrap halfwit Somali immigrants into bomb plots.

So we say, as I have heard otherwise sophisticated liberals proclaim, Go ahead, snoop on our email and telephone calls because we who have ‘done nothing wrong’ have nothing to fear. As the Athenians said to the Melians before slaughtering them, ‘We bless your innocence but do not envy your folly’. Calling upon the gods to save us because we are virtuous is mere superstition.

Instead, we need reality-based thinking and action to preserve our fragile freedoms. The mighty are preparing the ground to crush us when we dissent from their highway robbery, which we will inevitably do as they squeeze us out of our livelihoods. If Trayvon Martin’s death is not to be utterly depressing, let him be today’s Emmett Till, a violent reminder but also a rallying cry against evil forces threaten our collective future.

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