April 5, 2012 —
Forensic experts have confirmed the obvious in the killing of Trayvon Martin in
Sanford, Florida-— that the terrified voice repeatedly screaming for help was that of the teenager Martin and not the gunman George Zimmerman. And yet Zimmerman has not been arrested for hunting Trayvon down and shooting him dead. The thought that a black self-appointed neighborhood watchman would receive the same treatment after having shot a white teenager is a ludicrous one. And it is an impossible idea to hold in your mind because, and here again we state the obvious, there is nothing post-racial about the society we’re in.
In fact, there seems to have been a doubling down on racist rhetoric, actions and policies by white supremacists who are euphemistically called members of the Tea Party, ultra-conservatives or the Republican right wing.
The atmosphere of the media is permeated with their oily smog of propaganda always driving the national discourse, whether on labor policies, education, health care, voting rights, criminal justice, or any other public policy, toward the conditions extant during that Golden Age of white supremacy, slavery.
They reveal themselves in the voter-suppression laws, in the attacks on education, and with the so-called “stand your ground” legislation that allows the use of deadly force in self-defense of a perceived threat. (This means that if the middle-aged African-American woman who jumped back in startled fear when I entered a late-night elevator many years ago had a gun, she would be able to claim “stand your ground” as a defense as to why she shot me.)
This is an instructive piece of legislation because it is so powerful that it allows a man who took someone’s life in an extraordinarily incriminating way, to avoid arrest.
This legislation, and others like it, is the brainchild of a particularly nasty lesion on the political scene, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a conservative think tank whose Web site claims that “To date, ALEC’s Task Forces have considered, written and approved hundreds of model bills on a wide range of issues, model legislation that will frame the debate today and far into the future. Each year, close to 1,000 bills, based at least in part on ALEC Model Legislation, are introduced in the states. Of these, an average of 20 percent become law.”
ALEC has major funding from David and Charles Koch, the right wing billionaires who have been causing havoc across the nation with their use of money to influence public policy.
The only way that entities such has these are going to be defeated is by substituting people power for the Koch brothers money. The results of their efforts have real-life consequences as personal as the justification for the shooting of young Mr. Martin, as a suppressed black and brown vote and as a newly-privatized school.
Money and technology have given these folks a head start in their relentless efforts to change the nation’s laws, and it is ever more imperative that eligible voters be registered, educated and active political participants. If they are not, we will find ourselves with fewer rights, less education and taken back to a darker and more dangerous country.