Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming
October 23, 2020
I was only expecting steam from the fissures; not a full scale eruption. I think, maybe many of us think, if we look at a thing often enough, eventually we soften the impact. I don't think we do; I think we dissociate from a thing just to get past the unthinkable, which doesn't mean it's gone anywhere. I'm more horrified by what went on in the sixties than I was in the eighties when I started to make sense of it, or at least sort it out.
When I stumbled over Sorkin's Trial of the Chicago Seven, I was, as above, expecting steam from a fissure or two. I was not expecting Vesuvius.
There is a large handful of events that occurred in a three year period which are carved into the back of my skull. My memory goes back as far as the Detroit Riots in July, 1967 because they showed up pretty damn quick in my neighborhood, in North Kalamazoo. April 4, 1968 got us booted back to the white folks. With King dead, our four pale faces weren't a thing to be tolerated. The explosion of the Chicago riots a few days after the fact, may have been what prompted our eviction. The anti-war protests seem ubiquitous to my six year self and what happened at the DNC in August of 1968 hit my radar because it hit my parent's radar. Kent State, May 4, 1970. Four dead in Ohio.
How do you possibly talk yourself out of a police state? How is any part of this reflective of a democracy?
I don't know that I've a single remaining family member who'd do anything other than shrug that last bit off. I don't know how we got here. I don't know how it can be I'm the only one left screaming.
My therapist (read: everyone I know) would likely probe a bit and chalk my response to the film up to personal trauma.
Isn't that any easy way out?
Nobody ever bound, gagged, and shackled this white girl. Not anywhere, not at any time, and certainly not in an American Courtroom. Not ever.
Context and quote:
Bobby Seale, black defendant in court without benefit of legal representation, arguing consistently for the right to represent himself:
“deal with him as he should be dealt with”
The room falls silent and Seale is dragged from the room. There are no court photographs of Seale returned to his seat, but there are plenty of drawings. Here are two:
That Judge Hoffman, surely aware of courtroom transcripts and drawings, did not give a rat's ass, is The American Icon. He is everyperson. He was going to roll Seale into the arms of Jim Crow and to hell what anybody thought about it.
This is what I think about it. I think he did it because we would support it. If you're bristling, check yourself. Supporting it is anything that does not involve actively trying to stop it. That means jump over the fucking table and take a bullet. If that's what it comes to.
Jump over the fucking table and take a bullet.
Why? Because that is what it has always been and will continue to be, until enough of us are willing to take bullets to stop this shit.
I don't know anyone, personally, willing to go that far.
There is a scene in Sorkin's film in which the police decide to take on the protestors in a way which they most assuredly may not. This horrifying thing we witness through the eyes of the defendants is the sight of god knows how many men in blue removing their name tags. Removing anything which might identify them directly as they proceed to beat the living shit out of - I don't actually know how many anti-war protesters. Does it matter?
The last neutral feeling I had about law enforcement trickled through the floorboards and onto the basement floor. I haven't had positive feelings in years. A lot of years. But I had tolerance, which clung tenuously to the tattered hem of the benefit of the doubt. Do Blue Lives Matter?
Yesssss...in that they need to be taken out of commission and sent back to the factory for an overhaul.
If you wear a uniform and you'd like to be proud of it, you need to be willing to take a bullet, no strings attached. You need to be able to take a bullet from inside your own force because that's where it's going to be coming from, should you decided not to remain silent.
Do you love a Blue Life? Good. Stand for them. Not that way, jackass. Stand for them as if their very lives depend upon it. Stand for them the way we stand for the addicts in our lives when we refuse to enable or accept. Stand for them.
If you are Blue, you also need to do your job, which is not the same as your goals and objectives. It would also be helpful if you brushed up on the law. Just a bit.
This spring in Chappaqua, at the height of COVID spread and death, an officer of the New Castle PD informed me that my property owners could do anything they pleased on the property they owned, whether or not I had a lease. That included entering without warning at any time.
Fucknut. Are you for real? Just stupid? Don't know, but I do know this. You are Blue and you are dangerous at the most basic level.
And I'm a privileged white lady who watched you pull over a not quite new or shiny enough vehicle and without any provocation that I could see, proceed to shine your mighty large maglite through her window. And then that window, and then the next until you circled her car. I'd put money on she and I being born in the same decade.
I could have done something about this and it might have cost me something. Most likely not a bullet, but it might have cost me something.
It didn't cost jackshit to sit there at the other light and watch him from no more than thirty feet away. I could judge him, couldn't name him, but I could have made a difference in her life and mine.
Tin soldiers have been here for months and Nixon's a wet dream. Our politics have only gotten worse. Jim Crow rose up into the light of day, unhindered. It wrapped its arms around the white majority, rich or poor, educated or not, hugged in tight and muttered... let's do this thing.
here's what kills me: my second amendment loved ones... you want to be able to spray the intruder with a gazillion bullets (because you're a bad shot with a pistol), but you're not willing to take one. What truths, in fact, do we hold so dear as that? There is nothing even remotely united about, I'll get mine, and you might get yours, be it a dollar or a bullet. No skin off my nose, either way.