The above quote is from over two hundred years ago. Think about it, two hundred years. So why am I sitting here wondering who this American world is made for?
If you follow Mrs Fringe, you know I indulge in the occasional political rant. Generally, I try to limit myself to rants directly related to women, both because I’m not a political scientist and because it’s exhausting and ultimately ineffectual to be angry about everything all the time. I didn’t intend to blog about Ferguson, there are many others doing so who are better informed and more eloquent. Yesterday I was watching an interview with Al Sharpton about what’s happening in Ferguson. One of the most, if not the most, polarizing people of the country. I found myself agreeing with every word coming out of his mouth. Reverend Al, voice of reason? Has he mellowed? Have I become more radical? Or is what’s happening so egregious he is exactly the right person to speak for We The People?
The segment kept cutting to clips of interviews with others, and on the whole, it didn’t seem meant to be an inflammatory piece one way or the other. Until I saw/heard someone representing the authorities of Ferguson, and he said they just wanted to keep order (good), not allow looting (excellent, the thugs who take advantage of these situations should not be allowed to profit, or take the focus off of why people are protesting), and make sure the people gathering don’t become a large crowd (huh?). What the fuck was that? I don’t follow every news story around the world every day, but I’m pretty sure I’d have heard if the First Amendment had been ratified to revoke the right to protest.
The death of Michael Brown is a tragedy. For him and for his family, something no family should have to experience. But I believe it isn’t solely a private and personal tragedy. Because his death and the clusterfuck that’s been happening since represents something much larger that’s been happening in this country, and impacts all of us. Fear, racism, loss of liberties.
Individual police officers/forces acting as judge and jury? I’m not sure how new that is. Fact or fable, I remember hearing stories when I was younger about neighborhood pedophiles being “taken care of.”
Also not new, authorities pushing back against protestors, breaking out tear gas, swinging batons, turning on fire hoses, protestors being beaten and swept into “paddy wagons” (is there a more current term for these?) for mass arrests. Those halcyon days of yore weren’t quite body to body peace and free love. Anyone else have an ear worm of Kent State?
The world has continued to change. America has continued to change. People have not changed.
Our police forces around the country are growing ever more militarized. I’m all for reusing and recycling. But that extra military equipment, armaments being handed to local PDs? Doesn’t make sense to me. At all. This equipment is designed for war. War. Soldiers are trained in how to use/not use this equipment.
More than anything, technology has changed. Weaponry available is well beyond anything our forefathers could have imagined. Freedom of the press now means the ability to see and hear exactly what is happening with instantaneous recordings and distribution. All this change, and yet the question is the same as it was two hundred years ago. Who is this America for? Maybe it’s time to evolve and grow, not just react to change.