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:
- A SWAT team to burst into your residence by their incompetent mistake and execute your sleeping grand-daughter, even though you have done nothing wrong.
- You to get terrorized by the gang in blue for no crime at all just to serve a warrant on a non-violent offender who isn’t in your house.
- Find out you got terrorized (see above) for the crime of applying for a legal concealed carry permit.
- Get harassed for protecting property from arson.
- Get charged with a felony for pointing a banana at police (Think about that: they don’t get charged when you die under their assault but a banana-pointer gets serious charges.)
- Get gunned down for being taken hostage.
- Terrorize your children at school with drawn, loaded, firearms.
- Get executed for calling the suicide hotline. (Just watch the video!)
- Get your home searched because, at a checkpoint, you asserted your legal right to not show your ID.
- Be forced to illicitly give the police your Facebook identity and password in order to be considered for a gun permit.
- Be threatened for not answering intrusive questions based on stereotypes about Frisbee golf players.
- Get subjected to the cop version of “the knockout game” because you are smoking a cigarette in public, legally (in this case, we have black-on-black crime as far as I can tell).
- Get executed in your own home by police raiders because your SUV was stolen by criminals earlier.
- Get tazed for a seatbelt violation.
- Have all your valuable property stolen by police even though you are not charged with a crime.
- Face jail time as a cop at the hands of your “brother officers” because you didn’t treat them as above the law.
- Get put in jail for having a spoon.
- Get stopped from saving a woman’s life, threatened with arrest, so that the woman dies while the cops do nothing.
- Be lectured that you need to obey all traffic laws in order to avoid the on-the-spot penalty of rape—as if a rapist cop doesn’t have total power to pull you over on a made-up pretext.
- Get raided because you room-mate started a parody twitter account for the local mayor.
- Get intimidated and threatened for video-recording arrest.
- Get killed by cop in car who has legal immunity to text and drive.
- Get executed as a police informant on camera by police who are immune to all charges by claiming you didn’t use the safe word and you moved your hands toward your waist.
- Get anally raped by police-state-compliant “medical caregivers” on the testimony of a dog known for false alerts and police claims of “suspicious posture.”
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.