Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I Support The Oregon Militia...

I support the Oregon Militia and the dozens of interlopers who've joined their ranks. I think mandatory minimums are unjust. I've helped inmates in the Commonwealth of Virginia fight against Draconian sentences handed down by judges with reputations for, "laying brothers down". I support the idea of civil disobedience. The most important component of protesting is the disruption of the natural order of business. As far as protests go, they've succeeded in getting media attention. I'm not invested in the outcome of this situation. I'm not a rancher, nor have I ever visited a National Wildlife Refuge. I'm not concerned with the legitimacy of the claims the protesters are making. I don't care who stole the land after America stole it from the Indians. The material facts of this case are unimportant to me. I have one responsibility in this piece: I have to point out, for the 2,456,473 time, the hypocritical media coverage and law enforcement response to armed white men doing things that would get me and the men of my church killed. 

We live in a country in where the Second Amendment rights of armed white men are more respected and vigorously protected than the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Amendment rights of minorities. I would feel better if we, as a country, would be honest and say the Second Amendment rights of white men supersede every right people of color think they have. Usually this line of criticism is dismissed as "race baiting" -a term I've never understood. After your arguments are dismissed, you get classified as another "angry" black man. I've embraced this title; the shoe fits. I'm tired of seeing black people killed by the same law enforcement agencies that strategically negotiate with the likes of armed militias to insure there's no escalation of tense situations.

If groups like the Brady Center and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence were smarter they would hire a couple hundred well armed African Americans, Arabs, and Latinos between the ages of 18 and 30 to march on the steps of every capital in every state until comprehensive gun reform measures are enacted. That's what it would take to for their causes to lead to the legislative solutions they're seeking. Many of our Second Amendment warriors either don't know or care that their hero (Ronald Reagan) supported and signed into law several limitations to their Second Amendment rights. If you mention The Mulford Act their eyes glaze over and they do a quick Lexis Nexus search of words Glenn Beck or Alex Jones taught them. Black Panthers marching on the capital in Sacramento accomplished in a few short weeks what dozens of well meaning gun control control groups have failed to accomplish in decades of fighting.

Make no mistake about it Oregon is about President Obama. Even when his name isn't mentioned the underlying, unifying force behind the Tea Party, the original Bundy supporters, Donald Trump's meteoric rise in the polls, and this Bundy 2.0 upgrade is the president's radical alterity. Almost seven years into his presidency he still has the ability to unify militias, Neo-Nazis, the Klan, and other anti-government groups. I know that these groups have a long history. I concede the point that Waco, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, and a slew lesser known incidents happened before 99% of the country ever heard the name Barack Obama, but I can't pretend that these groups haven't had a Renaissance since 2009. Their reflexive hatred of President Obama allows them to engage in, what some people view as, treasonous behavior. As long as the face of government tyranny is President Obama these groups won't have any problem recruiting. The minute a white male or military uniform replaces the president as the de facto face of the government, my hunch is that many of the weekend warriors who dress up and play soldier will go back to their individual pastimes.

Again, I support this group's right to protest laws they feel are unjust. I won't be on the front lines with them, but I won't stop someone from joining their ranks. My animosity stems from the fact that too many people in our country seek to use every method possible to deny what's right in front of them. We have too many shoot first ask questions later cops patrolling our cities. I don't want this Oregon situation to end in a hail of bullets. I want the impossible: I want us to, collectively, admit that there's a problem. One of my favorite James Baldwin quotes is, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." I want to turn on the news and hear Black Lives Matter activists covered as fairly as this group. I want to hear one of the major network anchors admit that a group of minorities would never be afforded the kind of leeway this group has gotten. I want to stop writing about this kind of hypocrisy, because so many of my white brothers and sisters have used up all of the good words and made every necessary argument.