Jon Stewart on Eric Garner: Pushing Race

I want to like him, but Jon Stewart on Eric Garner really disappoints me.

One of the Freedom-oriented pages in my Facebook feed shared a link to Jon Stewart’s rant about Eric Garner, with their own headline, “Jon Stewart Loses Some Faith in the State.”

(Sidenote here: While I am frustrated by how much police can get away with, and I wish Eric Garner had been afforded the dignity of representation by a prosecutor, I doubt that criminal charge of much seriousness would have made it past a jury. This is especially true since Garner died of cardiac arrest in the ambulance, not of asphyxiation on the spot. I still don’t understand why a police officer using a chokehold that the police department has ruled as too dangerous cannot be prosecuted for reckless endangerment. In any case, I hope Garner’s family gets vindicated in a civil court.)

Since I think Stewart’s world and life would be dramatically improved by a reduction of his superstitious faith in the State, I watched the video with some hope. And it was great for awhile. See for yourself:

As far as I’m concerned, the first two minutes and forty-five seconds of this presentation were quite good with moments of brilliance. Stewart was right to put aside joking for the most part and simply talk about the issue. It doesn’t lend itself to comedy.

But how is living (or not living!) in a post-racial society relevant to this issue?

Yes, I realize that Eric Garner was an African American and his assailant was not. But that does not prove anything.

And yes, I realize it is probably true that we do not live in a post-racial society. I suspect that I think there is far more racism in society that Jon Stewart will ever accept. In fact, I think we live in what is substantially a neo-Nazi society that (without the anti-Semitism, granted) is committed to exterminating racial minorities and the disabled.

And yes, I realize there is racial profiling going on (though I suspect that black cops would act no differently than white cops).

But pointing to Garner’s race as the deciding factor or the most significant detail is just a claim, not a self-evident truth. Bringing up race serves no purpose except to obscure the real issue and keep two groups with common interest and a natural affinity from uniting against their master.

The two groups who have a natural affinity and common interests are middle-  to working-class White Americans who tend to side with the Tea Party and middle- to lower-class African Americans. The people Obama likes to think of as “bitter clingers” to their guns and their Christianity have a great deal of solidarity with the people he thinks are locked into the Democrat stable. Jon Stewart’s redirection of the natural rage that American’s feel is an attempt to feed that delusion.

But there is no reason to think that police abuse is based on race. This story is only one example. The issue is not White v. Black but Cop v. Anyone Else Who Isn’t Powerful Enough to Make the Cop have a Bad Day. Some cases do involve African Americans, but they happen so often to White people as well that no one even accuses the cops of racial wrongdoing.

So, you don’t have to be an African American subject to White cops in order for the follwing to happen:

police gun

I could go on all day.

I’m sure racial bias (which, by the way, is not the same as real racism) sometimes comes into it, like the man gunned down in Walmart, for example. But that is not the essential problem for either black or white.

Here’s a piece of anecdotal testimony: the county next to the one in which I reside has a low tax rate which sends the county law enforcement searching after Federal grant money. And Federal grant money is designed to encourage police state behavior. They require multiple checkpoints. I have friends who live in that county–two families who live in the same neighborhood and who are under different economic circumstances. They are friends who commonly do things together and they, as a result, have passed through check points together. The SUV that is bright, new, and expensive gets waved on through. The SUV that was bought used gets stopped for questioning.

It isn’t about race; it is about economics and power.

Even in the Ferguson case, once you get beyond the criminal element, the real rage is over grasping, harassing revenue collection. This is and should be a Tea Party opportunity. Don’t let the ruling class foment internal conflict in order to stay in power.