The Shaming of America?

The death of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer last summer sparked an uprising in cities across America. The subsequent exoneration of the officer by a grand jury further inflamed the discontent. The primary charge was that white police officers continuously harass black citizens and get away with it. Some have taken to defacing the American flag because they believe it to represent oppression and racism.  

It was alleged that 18 year old Michael brown was murdered in cold blood in the middle of the street, shot in the back while he had his hands raised up in surrender. This allegation spawned the “hands up, don’t shoot” chant which became the battle cry of the left in the last quarter of 2014. 


“Hands up, don’t shoot” gained traction in 2014
 The only problem with the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative is that it turned out to be false. Forensic evidence along with eye witness testimony (from black and white witnesses) corroborated officer Darren Wilson’s version of the events. Michael Brown had charged officer Wilson and attempted to take his weapon. Fearing for his life, officer Wilson fired multiple rounds into Brown. It’s a tragic loss of life, there’s no question about that. But Officer Wilson didn’t wake up that morning and decide that he was going to murder an unarmed black teenager. He was provoked into taking action. 

However, the black community in Ferguson, Missouri jumped to the conclusion that Michael Brown was unjustly gunned down. They had a good reason to believe that. There is an atrocious and well documented history in America of black people being physically beaten by white cops.

This history has left a scar on the cultural memory of black America and unfortunately, this behavior by white law enforcement has continued into the present day. By no means is it as prevalent as it once was, but it still lingers as a dark shadow over race relations in this country. 

Nonetheless, the truth about what happened to Michael Brown came out after a grand jury was presented with all the evidence. This grand jury listened to 70 hours of forensic and ballistic experts, saw the testimony of dozens of eye witnesses and after careful deliberation, came to the conclusion that the lethal force implemented by Darren Wilson was justified. This verdict enraged the community, prompting riots and protests. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Attorney General at the time, Eric Holder, opened up his own justice department investigation. This independent federal investigation supported the conclusion reached by the grand jury. As if to ensure that it didn’t leave “empty handed”, Eric Holder’s team also investigated the entire Ferguson PD. This investigation  found evidence of racist practices within the Ferguson police department. Although some statistics were presented in a questionable manner in a attempt to feed the racist narrative, there is no doubt that an undercurrent of racism against black citizens had permeated all levels of the  Ferguson police department hierarchy. The calls for justice continued to echo across urban America. 
But what is justice? Is justice defined as the appeasement of a group of people for purposes of political expediency? Is justice served when an angry populace is able to influence the supposedly objective judicial process?

There is little faith left in our judicial process, especially in the urban black community. Such little faith, in fact, that even though the ballistics, forensics and  dozens of eyewitnesses corroborated Officer Wilson’s story, black America felt the court system was racist and wouldn’t charge a white police officer. They allege that the inherently racist, white institutions in America don’t value black lives as much as white lives. 


Black Lives Matter has become a common slogan
 Many black Americans feel that America is still a racist country. I can understand the anger and the frustration. This country has a deeply disturbing  history concerning white and black relations. From slavery, to Jim Crow to the civil rights movement, nobody can deny there’s a track record of racial oppression. 

But then there’s Baltimore. The people of Baltimore Maryland exploded with indignation in the wake of the death of a 25 year old black man Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. But Baltimore is different than the other racially charged incidents because there isn’t a racial component to the Baltimore situation.

Liberal democrats have controlled Baltimore for 48 years. Progressive liberal policies have been in effect for half a century. 

Today, the majority of city officials are black, the mayor is a black woman, the police commissioner is black, the State’s Attourney is black and the police force is 50% black. In addition, 3 of the 6 officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray are black. 

So the protests in Baltimore had a slightly different message. Instead of displaying anger about racism, it was directed at policing and the police culture. But the indignation of the police abuses of power wasn’t the whole story. If you talk to anyone from Baltimore, you’ll hear a common thread in their message. The people of Baltimore are angry and frustrated at the poverty that plagues their community, their hearts break when they see the lack of opportunities for their kids and the crime that has blighted their city for so long.  My heart goes out to these people, trapped in a socioeconomic strata from which they feel they can never escape. They feel that nothing has changed for them. They don’t see the American Dream as attainable. They only see the American Nightmare. 

But even in a city where the large majority of government officials are black, where liberal democratic policies have been in place for 48 years, racism still became a central theme. In the days following the riot, the peaceful protestors had a more racially oriented message. Young black people in America believe this country is racist and oppressive. They truly feel in their heart of hearts, that the poverty, crime and economic strife are to be blamed, in large part, on white America. 
“The system has failed the poor urban youth of America” said one city official. 

But the “system” is as liberal as any city in America. Aren’t the liberals supposed to be the antithesis of racism, bigotry and intolerance? Aren’t the Obama ideologues the ones who care about the poor and less fortunate  among us? Aren’t the progressive liberals the ones who will fight for the impoverished? Aren’t liberal economic policies the solution to the Reaganite conservative doctrine? In the last five years, $1.8 billion of federal money has been poured into the Baltimore economy. Nothing has improved since 2010. 

It seems to me that pouring money into the city to fix the problem, to “level the playing field” doesn’t work. The problems typically seen in Americas inner city black communities are not externally manifested by a racist white America. Racism exists, for sure, but it is not strong enough to stop a smart, ambitious and hard working black guy or girl from achieving their dreams. In fact, in America, you get to prove the racists wrong. Those that are racist in 2015 America do not have the power to limit the goals and ambitions of a black person. YOU  as a black American are in the position to show those racist fools who you really are. 

White America used to be the reason for the anger evident in black America. There’s no doubt about this. But 51 years ago, the civil rights movement achieved its primary goal: equality under the law. I’m not implying racism stopped all of the sudden in 1964. But in the half century since MLK moved the nation in the proper direction, we still see impoverished inner city communities made of almost entirely black people. Why do so many black people belong to the lowest economic strata? Why do black communities have so much crime? Why is a black child so much less likely receive a good public school education?  Is 2015 America still so racist that we actively attempt to keep black people from achieving success? Is racism still so strong that it continues to suffocate and stifle the ambitions of black Americans? Is white America to blame for the problems that plague the black communities? No. Racism is not the cause of black America’s problems. 

If a black child performs well in school, he or she can go to college at a steep discount, or even totally free. Even the elite Ivy League schools are pro-minority in the sense that they want a diverse student body. White America has come a LONG way in attempting to right the wrongs of the past. White people are not oppressing black America. In fact, white America has done as much as it can to help black America. Yea white cops kill black kids dozens of times a year across the United States. But black kids murder other black kids at a rate that dwarfs the police shootings. Several thousand black on black homicides occurred in 2014. 

The numbers are hard to argue with. The 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of criminal statistics in America, shows 83% of white victims were killed by white offenders, 90% of black victims were killed by black offenders, 7.6% of black victims were killed by white offenders. 

In the overwhelming majority of violent crimes in which a black person was the victim, the offender was also black. 


              The Obama Doctrine 


Obama’s election gave those on the far left a more mainstream voice

Those on the political “far left” in America have developed an unAmerican sentiment of sorts. This is only evident amongst it’s more progressive members. It is certainly not an indictment on all American liberals, the majority of whom love their country. This anti-American undercurrent is founded on the Howard Zinn narrative of a shameful and atrocious American history. However, this new attitude makes the claim that America is still a racist and oppressive country, structured on white supremacy. Today, our kids learn that America isn’t the greatest country on Earth. They learn the liberal doctrine of gross economic inequality and gross social injustice. 

The narrative of the evil American empire has been propelled into the mainstream psyche by Howard Zinn in his book: A People’s History of the United States. Zinn makes the case that America stole it’s wealth, stole labor from African slaves and stole land from the Native Americans and Mexico. He says that America is the most oppressive nation that ever existed. 

I wholeheartedly disagree. There are some on the politically left in America who champion Howard Zinn and his view on the history of this country. But they are ignorant of the facts. America isn’t just a country. It’s an idea. This idea has brought forth the greatest country the world has ever seen and I’ll prove it to you in these closing paragraphs.

Slavery was DEFINITELY stolen labor. But slavery has been a universal norm across every human culture since the beginning of time. Slavery is not a uniquely American institution. The unique thing about America in terms of slavery, is that we fought a war that almost destroyed us in order to abolish slavery. Nowhere else in human history do we see a war fought to rid a nation of slavery. 

In addition, those that wished slavery to be vanquished appealed not only to human morality, but to the Constitution itself. The Founders of this great nation couldn’t have outlawed slavery at the time of the revolution. No southern colony would have joined the Union and America would not have had the strength to fight the British. The Founders had a choice: Have an America that tolerated slavery until a future generation could abolish it, or have no America at all. The Founders provided a future generation with the legal tools necessary to abolish slavery by proclaiming in the Constitution that all men are created equal in terms of inalienable rights. So is America guilty of slavery? Of course. Did we do the right thing and rid our land of it? Yes. Did the Founders supply us with a legal precedent for abolishing slavery? Yes. 


Lincoln was the leader of that “future generation” the Founders knew would emerge eventually

 Another commonly toted charge against America is that America stole land from the Native Americans. Sure, in one context we did push them from their homes. But during the thousands of years before Columbus, Native American tribes had been fighting bloody battles over land with each other. Land ownership depended on which tribe had the best warriors, and this changed every generation. Nobody “owned” that land. Europeans came and added a new element to the mixture of people squabbling over land. So yes, we settled that land, but Anglo-Saxon Europeans were the last in a very long line of people to inhabit North America. A second Howard Zinn claim concerning Native Americans is that we committed genocide. That’s an outright lie. Over 85% of the deaths of Native Americans were from diseases brought by the Europeans to which they had no immunity. A tragedy, yes. But genocide, no. Genocide implies the direct extermination of a people. While violence was no doubt accountable for a great many Native American deaths, the vast majority died from disease. The allegation of  “theft” of land from the Mexicans can be easily disposed of. America won a war, started by the Mexicans in the early 19th century. We had troops in Mexico City and at one point had control of ALL of Mexico. Then we gave them half their land back and forgave the monetary war debts. When the U.S. Mexico border was drawn, those that ended up on the American side became American citizens. Have you ever heard of someone attempting to sneak across the border BACK into Mexico? It’s obviously better to be living in America. As Dinesh D’Souza said, “I wonder how many people living in Mexico today wish the U.S. had kept all of Mexico, thus making them American Citzens?” 

There are dozens of charges to address but I’ll end this post with one of the most egregious. Zinn will argue that capitalism is evil. He says it rips off the people. I disagree. For the entirety of human history, every nation that ever was, conquered the land and stole the goods. The treasure, the soil, the labor etc. America was the first to CREATE wealth through entrepreneurial endeavors.

Did Bill Gates rip you off? Did Thomas Edison ruin your chances of success? This narrative has gained traction under president Obama and I find it sickening because people don’t know the facts. 200 million people have been lifted out of poverty in India since they embraced the free-market ideology. 500 million Chinese have been lifted above the poverty line since China loosened its communist choke hold. Capitalism is for those who value individual liberties. You don’t have to be restricted to your current station in life. You can do whatever you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the hood. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor. The American idea doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful and happy. It leaves that up to you. There is no obstacle big enough to stop an extremely ambitious person. In America, there is no limit. 
America is also about personal accountability. You don’t blame someone else for your issues. You are only promised a chance to pursue your dreams. That’s it. Just a chance. Freedom is only worth it if you choose to take advantage of it. Today in America, even if you come from a low economic strata, there are tools provided to you that you won’t find anywhere else. 

To claim America is evil is foolish. America gives more money than any 5 countries combined in foreign aid. When shit goes down in the world, the 911 responder is America. We rebuilt Europe after WWII, we rebuilt Japan as well. We are the only reason China’s economy has grown so large, we offer humanitarian aid wherever we go and our purpose is as noble as can be for a nation as big and powerful as ours. We stopped Communism from consuming the world and we are the brightest beacon of freedom in the world. If America REALLY wanted to be evil, we could take over (or destroy) the world. We are the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. Nobody can go toe-to-toe with America. 
For all our power, and given the history of empires and the folly of human nature, it’s amazing that America continues to try to prop up other countries. We are the Alpha. We are the glue that holds this world together and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I am an American, and I’m proud of that.