One happened early in the day when I was traveling through the east coast of the United States. I was driving and I looked up and I saw it, and it undoubtedly saw me.
How could it not? That is what it is designed to do.
It was the stuff of fiction, of dream, and perhaps more truly… nightmare, made real, made concrete… made manifest.
In fiction you would have called it perhaps the Eye of Sauron, if Tolkien’s lore holds sway, or perhaps Big Brother, if Orwellian references are not lost on a world moving dangerously sideways. But in fact it was more amazing and horrific than both those references.
We sometimes do not realize we live in the future, are the future that endured, of a bloody and brutal 20th century, and while that is not the future yet, of flying cars and jet packs and conversing with aliens, the future we are living,… of cloning, and test tube babies, and sexual reassignment, and genetic modifications, and decision making machines designed to kill men, and engineered diseases, and ethnic cleansings, and endless wars, and information super-highway, and super social media, and entertainment systems in most homes that are one code-write away from being constant surveillance and data gathering/marketing tools, this future is as miraculous and as horrifying as any scifi tale of invasion.
It is more terrifying. Because the future we live in is plagued with countless terrors, we are not so lucky as to have a single bogeyman. No… our corporate-beholden governments create countless destroyers of man’s liberties and mankind’s lives, not just one.
I was driving and I saw something that should never float above an American city, or any city, floating there. I saw the Eye of Sauron, I say again, because it sounds romantic, but more… because it feels most true.
I saw this:
And it is a sight that I fear that all of us will be seeing, if we do not with all oppose it. For all the talk of not abusing the rights of the people, the fact is, that is what the blimp is designed to do, its very existence over American cities is an affront to the idea of a government of the people. What I saw in the sky yesterday was Ferguson and Palestine writ large, it is a show of force, it is the act of an occupying army.
Too much to make of it? I fear its existence is proof that we have made too little of our liberties. And time is running out to make more.
And what was the 2nd thing that gave me chills? That night I watched Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck give blistering performances in a movie that in 1978, almost 40 years ago, was the height of fantasy, but today feels as close as the next news cycle. I’m talking about THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.
Between facts that feel like fictions and fictions that feel like facts, the ground feels precarious, and the watchful skies… deserving of being watched.
Perhaps we should watch… together.
I practice an unpopular habit these days, I try not to speak till I know.
So to get a grasp on what this sleepy little town is in today’s media, I wanted to get a picture of what it was before it made national headlines.
I feel perspective give us an idea of how we got here, and where we can go from here.
According to City-Data.com The 2012 census tells us Ferguson is a town of approximately 21,135 people (no doubt a few less since the hostilities), the median age is 33.1 years, the mean of salaries was $36121, housing prices were right around $91808, and Blacks made up 64.9% of the population. As opposed to Whites being 30.6% of the population.
Add in other ethnic groups, of Hispanic, Asian, Indian, mixed (an odd designation, since few in America that would not apply to) and the total Colored population of Ferguson, is nearly 70% of that total population of 21,135 souls.
And yet a cursory glance of the news feeds coming out of Ferguson, shows a law enforcement that does not at all represent that population, does not represent that 70% of Blacks and Asians and Hispanic. Rather you see a heavily armored, virtually all White, armed response unit, prepped with the latest in federal government provided killing weaponry making a show of being ready to kill (ironically enough kill a colored population, with weapons paid for by the taxes of that same Colored population. Something wrong in that).
The news feeds and any calm examination of the facts show us Ferguson’s local Law enforcement as ,rather than an outgrowth and a part of the community… happily protecting and serving, instead an occupying army, a hostile, invasive minority trying to maintain an untenable power-base of master and slave, majority and minority. Watch the news and you see an American Palestine, an American Apartheid regime, local law enforcement as occupying armies, rather than integral peace-keepers.
And like Palestine and like South Africa, there is no way to reconcile that disparity of rule by the few. Therefore the roads open to America, the idea, and to us, the people, become few… but clear.
We can, all of us, nobly win, or meanly lose… our freedom. Lose it or win it in an embroiled conflict that will keep the mass of the population divided and wasted, fighting wars that were worthless and stupid when our grand fathers were young, while a few, laughing at these crabs in a barrel (Black, and White, and Yellow, and Red), shake their heads with mirth and win the only true war that matters… the class war. The war to define your life and to put their hands in your pocket while doing so.
So how do we win this 21st century war? First we have to learn how to fight it in a 21st century way. And that’s not by tossing rocks at tanks and helicopters and killer drones, and it is not by just marching, it’s by making a fiscal choice, have a fiscal cost.
Ferguson Government has staffed an all-White militarized police to in essence run rough shod over a mostly Black population that does most of the living and working and buying and selling and dying in Ferguson. Here’s the thing every one gets mastered, for better or worse, a society depends on codes of conduct, it depends on limitations of personal freedoms, it depends on sacrifice and responsibility, and it depends on heroes, and an understanding of right and wrong and holding that line. All of us either master and police ourselves, or we are mastered and policed.
The Black/colored population of Ferguson needs to use this incident as a wakeup call, to now put a new name up for mayor, a new name for chief of police (a step that I see, has been done by the Governor) a new name for city council. But it can’t stop there, if young people are going to be more than targets for the police, it is incumbent upon those with a sense of responsibility, to become the police for their neighborhoods; to be not an occupying army, but an integral part of maintaining the peace.
Until the person Ferguson residents call when they dial 911, is someone who respects and reflects them, bigoted and murdering police will continue to be the norm, rather than the exception.
And political and appointed offices do not live and run in a vacuum. Fiscal imperatives must drive people to do the right thing, must drive local police forces to demilitarize and be staffed by those from and representative of the neighborhoods.
The major banks in Ferguson are the UMB and U.S. Bancorp, so if you want to make people take notice of this outrage, you start there.
Get residents to close and pull all their accounts from the bank or bank that will not sign on for a petition requesting more diversity from Ferguson Law Enforcement. Same with the major schools or churches or department stores, any place where Black Dollars are consumed gladly, (which is most places), you petition them “show us you respect this population you make your money off of, sign this petition for more diversity, help us censor and change the Local Ferguson police and courts, or do without our dollars.”
Outrageous you say?
I would argue not.
We’re so removed from the age of strikes and civil disobedience, in our digital age, we forget, that the liberties most of us take for granted today, child labor laws, desegregation, 8 hour work day, were all won, not just by marching up and down meaninglessly, but were won by making bigotry and ignorance and evil… have a fiscal cost. It was won by making the cost of doing wrong, more trouble than the cost of doing right.
Ferguson, Missouri. Boycott any business that doesn’t employ people that look like you in significant positions. Create a petition, ask business to support it. Boycott the one’s that won’t. Boycott the targets, the kfcs, the mcdonalds, the walmarts, the libraries, the schools, the autoshops, the restaurants, the banks… and this doesn’t mean walk around carrying signs, you can do that if that’s your thing, but more importantly it means deny them your dollars, your patronage, YOUR RESPECT, and spread the word. The Montgomery Boycott was one of the most pivotal acts of fiscal reprisal, and we generations later are all benefiting from it.
Ferguson, it is now your turn to create your own fiscal reprisal. And by so doing, show the rest of America… the way.
Here endeth the lesson.
A look back at some really old comics by an even older comics fan
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