People call America the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. The place where dreams are made, where you can be all that you can be and where anyone with ambition, drive and hard work can have that which eludes so many.
With the state of society on the fritz and the obvious double stand that exists across certain segments of society, I beg to differ.
You all have got to know that I try; I really do try not to automatically conclude that race is the driving factor in most situations. You should know by now that when it comes to this column, my goal is for equal balance and rational thought. With that, there is no getting around what I believe to be the truth about Ammon Bundy and his Oregon militia situation. There would be a different outcome if those leading the rebellion were black.
We have seen first hand what happens to black folks when they try to peaceably stand up and say, “Hey, I don’t like this.” No matter what they do, they are met with a hostile and over the top response. I’m not talking about the Black Panther days either. I am referring to today, the 21st century, where black children and adults are killed with little to no consequences.
The race conversation in situations like this is not a played out narrative folks. Republicans and others love to say that racism is something of the past which then leads to them silently adding that everyone should just get over it.
It is not something that we should just get over. Do you tell Jewish people to get over the Holocaust? Hell no! So don’t tell black people to get over the effects of slavery or to be quiet about the systematic oppression we still find ourselves in to this very day. As long as the dominant society picks and chooses who can freely and publicly show their dissent without things resorting to violence and/or murder, we cannot shut up.
Let’s consider what this Oregon militia or whatever they are calling themselves is really about. At the heart of their gripe are the issues of “stolen” land and their distrust of the government. Because they do not like how this country is being run, they believe that it is their constitutional right to do something about it. Many people across America hail them as heroes and feel that what they are doing is a good thing.
What is frustrating to me is the simple fact that not everyone is afforded the same “luxury” to stand up, in this way, for the issues that are important to them. Not Mexicans, not Muslims, and not black people; three groups that seem to be plagues on the fabric of American culture. What is considered acceptable citizen reaction in moments of communal distress should not change based on race. Sadly though, in America it does without a blink of an eye.
Think about it. These men have overtaken a wildlife refuge with guns and other weapons, say that they are willing to stay there for however long it takes, bad mouth the government and even suggest that they are ready to engage federal entities like the FBI, Army, etc. and nothing is done. There are no SWAT teams coming in to shoot, beat or smoke them out of place.
Even Harney County Sheriff David Ward stated that he agrees with Bundy’s views, just not his groups tactics lets you know that they will do everything to make sure this group comes out alive. I only wish it could be like that for every group that stands up for its cause.
Oregon’s governor said:
“What started as a peaceful and legal protest has become unlawful… Those individuals illegally occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge need to decamp immediately and be held accountable.”
But that verbal response is nothing compared to the militia’s active response.
Blaine Cooper, one of the men held up in the refuge serving as a watchman among the rebels, said while holding an assault rifle in hand, “What makes me nervous is government… Government has been responsible for the greatest atrocities in the world.”
My question to that statement is to what atrocities, in particular, is he referring? I can name a few. I can name several, but something tells me that what’s at the top of my list as heinous and unfathomable incidents are not the same as what’s at the top of his.
In fact, I know that they aren’t the same as he said he wants to “abolish Draconian laws that keep us enslaved” and he takes issue with “money in politics, the two-party system, civil forfeiture and the militarization of the police,” according to USA Today.
Listen, I am all for standing up, demanding justice and taking back what’s yours. That is essentially our American right, but it has to be an opportunity that everyone has. So if black folks take over the suburbs or Chicago or the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, peaceably on the surface but ready to go to war below the surface, you best believe I expect the same response from the government. Nothing.
It burns me up because this is a form of domestic terrorism at its core. It’s what the government has justified as the means of going into other countries and occupying their cities. It’s what, I honestly believe with all my heart, the people who sit back on their asses and milk taxpayers for their money are afraid minorities will do.