My wife and I have been discussing the Zimmerman verdict for the last couple of days, and while I resolved to not debate the legitimacy of said verdict, I feel that I should at least deliver a statement. The only reason why I’m delivering a statement is because the Zimmerman verdict is part of a bigger problem I’m writing about today. The United States of America has been hijacked… by it’s own ignorant and divided population.
George Zimmerman, prosecuted for the senseless death of a 17-year-old black kid in Florida, was found not guilty by a six-member jury of white women. Zimmerman invoked Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law to justify the slaying of a child, and while it’s the prosecution’s job to prove the defendant guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, since the “Stand Your Ground” law states that you have the right to use deadly force if you feel your life is in danger, they basically had to prove that Zimmerman felt his life was in danger. Tell me, how can someone prove how someone else felt? … … … … … … … … Exactly.
This trial was doomed from the start.
I’ve been reading a lot of comments from people through message boards, Facebook, the news itself, and so on and so forth regarding the matter and there are a few responses I’ve read that are just so ignorant and stupid, they’ve inspired me to write this. Among them are people who seem exasperated that this trial and backlash have been classified within the context of race. Wake up! It is a matter of race. A 29-year-old Hispanic man profiled, stalked, then killed a 17-year-old black kid. Even if you remove the racial dynamic from it and make both parties generic, then you have a 29-year-old man who stalked an killed a 17-year-old kid.
An adult killed a child. Plain and simple. Don’t we have laws for this?
But, yes, those of you who feel that race has nothing to do with the trial, this was a case that was amplified by the racial dynamic… and justly so. America is not the amazing, tolerant, and open society that many seem to think — or hope — it is. America is still very racially divided, and if the Zimmerman trial isn’t enough evidence, then look back over the last several years. Why was Obama’s birth certificate so important? Because he’s black. Why do white people think that it’s just as offensive for someone of another race to call them a “cracker”, in comparison to someone else calling a black person a “nigger”? Because white people are tired of “special treatment” blacks receive when it comes to matters of race, despite the fact that no such special treatment actually exists. Why was Oscar Grant murdered by BART Officer Johnannes Mehserle? What about the senseless beating and murder of Malice Green in Detroit or the murder of a 92-year old black woman in Atlanta who thought the cops breaking into her home with a “no-knock warrant” were intruders or the assault on Rodney King or the fact that a “clerical error” is the reason why slavery wasn’t abolished in Mississippi until just five months ago? All of these things actually happened, and you want to tell me that an adult of Hispanic decent profiling, following, and killing a black child doesn’t have a racial component?
Okay, I’ll humor those of you feel that the Zimmerman trial shouldn’t have a racial component. If it wasn’t race that motivated Zimmerman, what was it? Was he a maverick neighborhood security guard who doesn’t play by the rules? Is he someone who thinks that hoodies are a sign of gang affiliation? I mean, seriously. If Zimmerman wasn’t motivated to pursue Martin on the basis of his race, then he was motivated to pursue Martin because of the clothing he was wearing. Either way, it’s a damned stupid reason.
Things in 2013 are not really all that different than the Jim Crow bullshit that preceded the Civil Rights Movement. While we hold people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and W.E.B. DuBois, Robert and John Kennedy, Rosa Parks, and many other civil rights leaders in such high regard — noting them to be some of the most important and influential personalities of the last hundred years — the rift between the races still continues, and in many instances, the rift is just as powerful as it was before the end of the 1950’s.
George Zimmerman — a 29-year-old Hispanic adult — killed Trayvon Martin — a 17-year-old black child — while Martin was walking home with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Yet, there is no basis to look at this as murder or manslaughter. Let’s give a round of applause to the criminal justice system and to the state of Florida, since they, as my brother-in-law so eloquently put it, have ended all debate and became the worst state in America.
Now, as I stated before, this is actually about a bigger picture. My country has been hijacked by it’s own people. Granted, yes, the government is “by the people and for the people”, but while Lincoln had the right idea, I don’t think he could have in any shape, form, or fashion, foresaw the idiosyncrasies that course through this nation like a plague. I’m going to be blunt, America is stupid. We’re like Honey Boo Boo with nuclear weapons and a God-complex. We’re the world’s L.A.P.D.
We’re a nation divided.
It really isn’t that difficult to pinpoint when the United States went from global juggernaut to the laughing stock of the industrialized world. It happened when a bunch of pissed of terrorists hijacked a few airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center. But, it wasn’t necessarily that event that did it.
After 9/11, America became a fearful nation — deathly afraid of terrorism to the point where the people allowed a perverted Presidential administration to basically have free reign over the people. Over the next eight years, the Bush administration destroyed the parts of America that hadn’t previously been destroyed by Ronald Reagan. The PATRIOT Act passed without being read; the “Global War on Terrorism” began draining American funds, contributing significantly to the $16.7 trillion in national debt; the United States Armed Forces had Osama bin Laden cornered at Tora Bora, but let him escape; the United States lost support from European allies when it was decided Iraq needed to be invaded, without any evidence of the WMD’s; both Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld would resign from the Bush cabinet in disgrace; the disgruntled American public, desperate for change, would fight back against Barack Obama and align themselves with the Tea Party; the Democratic Party and the Republican Party would both succumb to the tired squabbling of children when it came to matters of the utmost importance; the NSA would be exposed for conducting warrant-less surveillance on the American people; and so on and so forth.
Why do I say the country has been hijacked? Because WE elected these people into office. It’s so easy to blame politicians for the downfall of America, but in reality, the only reason these people wield any power is because the American people — so divided in opinions themselves — elected these clowns into office. Why did George W. Bush destroy relations with our allies and launch an illegal war on the guise of “fighting global terrorism”? Because he won the 2000 and 2004 elections (sketchy or not, he still won). Why is the economy in the toilet? Because the people we have elected into office made it that way, on Federal and state levels. Why is America performing below even sub-par levels when it comes to things like literacy, education, life expectancy, infant mortality, and median household income? Because we elect people who apparently don’t give a shit about such things. We elect people who believe that America is the greatest country in the world, despite the fact there is not a single shred of evidence to support such a claim. We elect these people because we’re still nursing the open wound that the American paranoia regarding terrorism has caused, and in keeping with this “evangelical” view of America being the greatest nation in the world, when our own President — who we elected into office — had the intelligence to criticize the state of his country, he was crucified for it. He was fucking crucified for stating a fact.
The driving currency in America today is votes and airtime, not the dollar. The American people are too misinformed to be able to render a legitimate vote, so I guess it comes as no surprise that America in 2013 is the clusterfuck it’s become. The American people rely on cable news to “understand” the country they live in. People on the right get their news from Sean Hannity and the rest of Roger Alies’ “fair and balanced” team of crackpot analysts and conspiracy theorists, while those on the left resort to MSNBC for what has been called “pro-Obama bias”, and those who think both sides are a little too radical flip the channel to CNN so they can see news and analysis in a manner similar to how Michael Bay would do it. These conflicting assholes elicit powerful responses from their viewers on the basis of skewed facts, misrepresented personalities, and even, in some instances, sex appeal, especially since any woman who appears on Fox News has to have at least 85% of her legs and 75% of her chest visible. News? Bullshit.
And it doesn’t end there. The misinformed American public also influence how the politicians they elected into office vote on important measures… or should I say, not-quite vote on important measures. The American government has become a cult of personality, run by lobbyists, religious zealots, and many, many other people who have no business (or right, for that matter) influencing the outcome of elections and votes on important legislature. The men and women elected into office by the misinformed American public are the reason why the NRA shot down common-sense gun legislation. The men and women elected into office by the misinformed American public are the reason why the Supreme Court voted that corporations were like people and could contribute to political campaigns. The men and women elected into office by the misinformed American public are the reason why the Koch brothers are as powerful a force in the American system as they are. Because of the American people, there is overwhelming support by politicians on the basis that America was founded as a Christian nation and thus, needs to be governed as one, despite the fact that our Founding Fathers never said such a thing. In fact, we’ve only been using the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance since 1954, almost 200 years after this country was declared a sovereign state.
Of course, by me saying all of this, I’m contributing to the alleged war on religion. There is no fucking war on religion. The only internal war we as a country are fighting is the war against each other, well, and the War on Drugs, which has cost American taxpayers over a trillion dollars and has only succeeding in making drugs cheaper and easier to get.
Common sense is lost in today’s America, taken over by fanaticism and self-indulgence. The news has been eclipsed by stories of Justin Bieber’s decent into madness and other instances of scandals and hero-worship. The American people have become a sentient issue of the supermarket tabloids, claiming that a gun ban would be the precursor to the government invading their homes and killing their families, claiming that President Obama is the Devil because the Devil looked like him on the History Channel, claiming that America is becoming a police-state, and so on and so forth, and so on and so forth, and so on and so forth. In America, the tragedy of twenty-six dead children causes the public to enter a hysteria over their right to own military-style weapons. In America, people who are no more qualified to talk about current events than someone who time-traveled from the past influence the opinions, lives, and votes of an easily manipulated populous. In America, there are more incarcerated citizens per capita, more religious fanatics and Evangelical Christians, and more money spent on National defense than in any other country in the world. In America, the threat of terrorism is still so real, that it’s become a simple game for politicians to exploit that fear and use it for their own personal gain.
This is America — fucked up, confused, and without direction. There are 316 million people in America, all of which are to blame for the state of their democracy, the state of their economy, and the state of themselves. America is NOT the greatest country in the world anymore, and it’s continuing to slip. America is the laughing-stock and the antagonist of nearly everyone else in the world with an opinion on the matter, and there are 316 million people to blame for that.