Mister EdMister Ed's Journal
The above quotation is one that made a great impression on me when I first read it in a local African-American newspaper in the mid-1990's, and it has haunted me ever since. It is not taken verbatim, and I can provide no link, but I have paraphrased it to the best of my memory.
My recollection is that this was a statement by a gentleman named Gary Sudduth, who was president of the Minneapolis Urban League. It was made at a time when the public and the media were preoccupied with the cases of O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson, two Black celebrities who stood accused of very serious crimes.
The punditry devoted much time to commenting on the disparate views of white America and Black America on these cases. Poll after poll seemed to show that most white people were inclined to believe that the two were guilty, and most Black people suspected that both were being persecuted and railroaded.
The plain truth of Mr. Sudduth's patient explanation of that disparity hit me with a heavy thud. The dim 15-watt bulb over my head flickered to life, and I thought to myself:
Good God. It's so true. There's nothing I can imagine, no matter how horrible, that has not been done to Black people, over and over again. And the things so horrible that they are outside my ability to imagine? Those have been done again and again as well.
That knowledge is carried by Black folks every day of their lives, isn't it? They're crushed under the burden of that knowledge every moment of their lives. And when they're not forced to contemplate the sheer horror of the most extreme examples, they're being ground down by the petty, pervasive, day-to-day racism they experience.
Would that shape my perceptions if I were in their place? Well, HELL YES it would. Would it pre-condition me to sense the deadly threat of racism lurking around every corner? Well, HELL YES it would. If it didn't, then I would just be blinding myself to the awful reality.
Lately, I've watched with pain and sorrow as we armchair investigators on DU have dissected the recent shootings of Duante Wright and Adam Toledo, and debated whether these shootings fit the universally-observed pattern of police mistreatment of African-Americans across this country, or are just outliers, tragic blunders on the part of the officers involved.
Those debates have shown me again the great gulf between the perceptions and experiences of African-Americans and those of whites. Although AA DU'ers have been measured and restrained in their comments, the unfathomable pain from which they are speaking has been impossible for me to miss. I've had no heart to prod those deeply painful wounds by discussing these events the way I would discuss the freeze-frame play-by-play of a disputed referee call from last Sunday's football game.
This seems to me to be sort of a microcosm of the state of things across the USA. It's said that justice delayed is justice denied, and on the matter of police racism, justice has been delayed for so very, very, long that it amounts to justice forever denied. I don't know what can come of it all. I don't know what people whose desperate need for justice has been so long denied are supposed to do or think or feel or say.
Only this tiny thing can I suggest: that everyone, everywhere try to carry Mr. Sudduth's simple words in their mind and their heart, as I have these past twenty-five years.
Can Trump get his cult members to pivot from fearing for their lives to willingly sacrificing their lives?
In an ongoing effort to propagandize and brainwash the public, Trump & company have very successfully exploited people's natural fear of death. Mortal fear is the most powerful tool in the toolbox of the propagandist, because there is no stronger human emotion than the survival instinct. If the propagandist can arouse the fear of death in his listeners, and then convince them that only he can protect them, then he will have them under his control.
In recent years, Trump has painted a lurid picture of the threat of hordes of "diseased Mexican rapists and murderers" swarming across the border. In his 2016 GOP nomination acceptance speech, he portrayed America as a terrifying hellscape of threats from all directions, repeating over and over again, "Only I can fix this." In his inaugural address, he spoke of the "American carnage" that he would soon halt. His message, again and again, has clearly been designed to arouse and exploit the fear of death.
Now that the American people are faced with the all-too-real and imminent threat to their lives presented by the Corona virus, Trump is suddenly and desperately seeking to tamp down the fear of death among his supporters. He downplayed the virus threat for months, until he could conceal it no longer. Now, in an effort to temporarily boost the economy and preserve his image, he proposes that the workforce should return to the workplace en masse in another week or so, creating a likelihood that millions may eventually die as a result.
Has he gone a bridge too far? Will the supporters in whom he has cultivated the fear of death revolt against him? Or is their devotion to their cult leader now so complete that they will gladly march to their death for him? That has certainly happened many times before in human history.
Perhaps those with a much greater knowledge of psychology than I possess can offer their thoughts. Otherwise, as Trump is fond of saying, "We'll see what happens".
There's much talk of impeachment, but very few fully understand what it is and how it works. Robert Reich provides a clear and concise summary of the ten steps to impeachment at this link:
It's a good, quick read, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
It's widely agreed that we're unlikely to ever get to Step 10, in which the Senate votes to convict Donald Trump and remove him from office. But in my view, the crucial step that we must reach is Step 3: the House Judiciary Committee investigation.
Step 2. That resolution goes to the full House of Representatives where a majority has to vote in favor, and then votes to authorize and fund a full investigation by the Judiciary Committee into whether sufficient grounds exist for impeachment.
Step 3. The House Judiciary Committee investigates. That investigation doesnt have to be from scratch. It can rely on data and conclusions of other investigations undertaken by, say, the FBI.
A full, in-depth, wide-ranging House Judiciary investigation into the question of whether Donald Trump should be impeached would dominate the headlines and the airwaves for months. The Committee would have the power to subpoena evidence, and compel witnesses to testify under oath. The innumerable crimes of Trump and Company would be laid bare in excruciating detail, leading to his certain removal from office - if not through Senate conviction, then through electoral defeat in 2020.
There should really be no disagreement among Democrats on the topic of impeachment. Whether one rallies under the banner of "Impeach the sonofabitch!" or the banner of "Let's focus on defeating Trump in 2020!", the way forward is the impeachment inquiry.
Far more important than these political considerations, though, is the upholding of the Constitution and the defense of the Rule of Law. The nation faces a crisis whose remedy was spelled out by the framers of the Constitution. That remedy is impeachment, and the duty of Congress today is clear.
My friend Charles and I get together frequently, and the conversation often turns to the dire state of things since the election of 2016. Last year, in the course of one of those conversations, I sank into a rare state of defeatism and despair. "Dear god", I said. "We really may be screwed."
Now, Charles is probably one of the most hard-nosed and unsentimental guys I've ever known. He lives in the world of hard facts. Nothing Kumbaya about this guy.
So what was his hard-nosed, unsentimental assesment?
"You're wrong, Ed.", he declared firmly. "It's going to be women. You'll see. Women are going to bring the change."
That seemed like sort of a surprising statement, coming from Charles. But I let his words echo in my brain, and I began to feel the truth of them. Waxing eloquent, I replied slowly:
"Yeeess. Yes. That's it. That's going to be it. Women are the sleeping tiger of the world. When the tiger walks, things are going to be different."
And now, sometimes when I least expect it, I get a strange feeling, and a sudden realization washes over me:
The tiger is stirring.
Sometimes it comes to me when things seem darkest.
The tiger is stirring. In the darkness of the jungle, the tiger is stirring.
I bear in mind that a tiger is a creature that moves in ways that are often outside of my understanding. It does not exist to fulfill my wishes, even the most noble of them. It does not heed my call, and it does not respond to my urging. It will move in its own way, and its own time, and not in the ways that I expect or anticipate.
But it is immensely powerful.
And I feel it, I'm sure of it: The tiger is stirring.
Oh, they think they have nothing to fear from the tiger. They think they have it cowed and tamed. They think they are strong. They think they are invulnerable.
But listen closely, friends, and listen closely, foes:
The tiger is stirring.
..and honestly, I gotta tell ya: it doesn't affect me in the least.
Let's face it: there really are some women out there who just innately hate men. There have to be. Heck, I think I've even encountered a couple of them in my life. And that there hatred of men is what you'd call misandry.
Whoever and wherever they are, I guess what's made their hatred of me so bearable is that they seem to have so much self-restraint about it. I mean, really. They've never harmed me a bit - or even tried to.
They've never hurt me or hit me, they've never beat me or raped me. And they've never once murdered me! (I have to admit, that's one of my personal favorites. I love not being murdered! But doesn't everyone?)
Amazingly, though, their self-control seems to extend way beyond just eschewing violence. Comes right down to it, they've never even used the threat of violence, implicit or explicit, to intimidate me, or demean me, or try to subjugate me. So that part's good.
Plus, they're not out there making unwelcome sexual advances on me to creep me out and make me feel vulnerable and stuff.
They might sit at home at night and stew about how they hate men. I don't know. And the reason I don't know is that they're not out there all around me, making their hatred plain and casting a cloud over my life. If I want to find stuff they've written about hating me, I have to go hunting for it. And if I find it, it seems like its really abstract and impersonal and academic. Which still might hurt my feelings. But it's waaay better than threats of violence and stuff.
It's also lucky that they're not using the power of government, or religion, to keep beating me down just because they hate me. 'Cause that would really suck.
So all in all, I'd have to say these misandrists are pretty civil about the way they hate me. All in all, I have to think that if we could ever get to where all the world's misogynists would follow their lead, well, that would be the next best thing to no hatin' at all.
All in all, I think I'd have to be one sorry-assed, self-possessed, sniveling sonofabitch to sit here snug and secure in the cushy cocoon of my straight-white-male life complaining about these misandrists. All in all, I guess if I wanna think about that kind of stuff, my time's probably better spent trying to figure out what I, as an individual, am gonna be doing to keep from causing anger, and even hatred, to take root in other women or girls.
P.S. Don't think for a minute I'm done here. One of these days, when I get around to it, I'm going to go off on a little rant about "reverse racism", and how oppressed I am by all those people of other races who hate me. Spoiler alert: it's going to be a lot like this rant here.