Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ferguson Follies

It now looks like the Ferguson/ Michael Brown crisis is largely behind us. Thankfully, we’re mostly past the press conferences, the racial hucksters, the street theater, oh so concerned officials and the overly earnest activists. We’re over the continuous coverage, the breathless reporterettes, bored Nation Guard troops, morons in Guy Fawkes masks, violence-addicted thugs, opportunistic looters, their fellow opportunistic politicians, oily lawyers, and family members of every stripe.   

Thankfully, the Ferguson riot was no more than a mere shadow of the ‘60s Days of Rage or the Rodney King riots. O
ne possible death as opposed to hundreds, a few buildings burned instead of thousands,  a hundred arrested instead of many thousands. Ferguson was nowhere near as bad as it was implied.

We’ve been fooled. 

The “movement” was self-contradictory from the start. Within weeks, Michael Brown could be seen as closer to a garden variety thug than an angelic teenage victim. As a result, this issue seemed to never have gotten any lasting traction within the greater African-American community. The protest had to be outsourced to the professional agitators of Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York and DC. The media continued their drumbeat of misconceptions, fear -- and outrageous lies. Meanwhile, millions of ordinary citizens, much more alike than not, continued to happily interact. We -- I -- defamed Black Americans by believing they would stoop to violence over this issue.  

When the Grand Jury findings were finally revealed – it was largely a non-issue: a play-date for the unstable, politicians, and cameras. There never were the overwhelming numbers of protestors that we were led to expect. The most publicized confrontation featured an estimated 250 protestors – and 250 media. Within hours, normal life resumed as reality reasserted itself.

Leaving a lot of us feeling a bit foolish. Leaving me feeling like a bit of an idiot.

There’s a lesson here, an important one: there’s profit in wedge politics; in dividing the whole against one another. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the New Black Panthers, Lesley McSpadden, Senator Chappelle-Nadal, Jay Nixon, Barack Obama, et al, and their sycophantic media all cynically, dishonorably furthered their own interests by dancing on Michael Brown’s grave. They traded in division and fears for their own ends.

Ferguson shows that we, as a city, state, and nation, are better than that.  We have our differences, we’re human after all, but in the main, we’re a integrated, just, striving, happy people. Much, much more alike than different.  And we shouldn’t let the hucksters and the wedgers tell us any different.  

Work remains to be done. There never should have been the immediate, pervasive assumption that the police assasinated an innocent. Something is obviously wrong. But as a society, we should be aware of just how far and how fast we've come. In societal terms, America's recognition of the error of racism and its largely successful correction has been completely unprecedented in human history.

Today, perhaps now more than any other time, we can see just how much we should be thankful for.  

Happy Thanksgiving. To all of us.

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