It Doesn't Take Much

Just the publication that a hangman's noose was the inciting incident in Jena, LA was enough to spawn a cycle of copycats - most recently on the door of a Columbia University professor. The allegories here are almost too rich to even begin mining - where does one start? With the "liberal" university named for the progenitor of the African Slave Trade - that profitable font called "Triangle Trade" that turned a mere outpost of European entrepreneurs into the heartbeat of the most powerful capitalistic engine the world has ever known?

One could write books on the above, but I want to bring the focus back to Jena: hanging that noose from those trees was an act of terrorism - perhaps the most basic form of terrorism this country has ever practiced. White people did not invent lynching - perhaps - but they surely perfected it as a means of controlling a people.

When any member of your family - from the smallest child to the oldest grandfather - is subject to abduction and murder at the hands of the mighty in your community (meaning they can kill with impunity and indeed notoriety) the message could not be more clear: your life is so close to being devoid of meaning as to be not worth analyzing the difference.

What should one do in response to terror? The president says the most basic rights of a nation allow it to act pre-emptively to even prevent an act of terror from occurring. Does it not follow, then that as the rights of nations are derived from the rights of man that man has this same right as well? If you know your family is under a threat of terror, do you not have the right to act to prevent that terror from happening? Or must you forever live in the shadow of the hangman's noose?

How can we - as Afrikans - ask our oppressors to act to protect us? How can we ask them to police our communities and yet not act in the manner in which they have always acted? How can we ask the former members of lynch mobs to stand in judgment of our children? Is not the protection of our families our responsibility? How can we take a "trust me" promise from politicians and then outsource that responsibility to the very group that has been the source of the threat for generations?


Racism is not some temporary condition or some momentary ill; it is a generational war against Afrikans waged by our oppressors. And until we start to act like we are in a war with those who seek nothing less than our sheer genocidal destruction (please - do not ask me how I know; ask the first Cherokee you meet) we will forever live with the threat of the hangman's noose.

Sphere: Related Content


Proof that truth and politics can be mixed

More proof that you can't believe what you hear. Or - you can't believe what you heard. Or - you can't believe what you heard before.

Let me return to the beginning. If there is one thing that I have held as a constant it is that politicians are irrepressible, irredeemable and irresponsible liars. How do I know this, you ask? Silly rabbit: every US President in my lifetime - from "I am not a crook" to "tried to purchase uranium from Africa" has lied to me, lied to you and lied to the world. It has gotten to the point that reporters no longer even appear to seek the truth; instead of asking questions to get to an answer, reporters prefer to just run down a list of predefined questions, seemingly oblivious to the obvious falsehoods, untruths and outright, baldfaced lies they have been presented by the interviewee.

Seriously, I do not get that.

Still, a generation of expectation setting has shown me that politicians are dyed-in-the-wool liars - only their mothers know if they are born liars - and there has been nary a hint that this process would not continue ad nauseum, henceforth and now and forevermore.

Until now.

With these words, Barack Obama has tossed down the gauntlet before all of the other candidates:

"So there is a choice that has emerged in this campaign, one that the American people need to understand. They should ask themselves: who got the single most important foreign policy decision since the end of the Cold War right, and who got it wrong. This is not just a matter of debating the past. It's about who has the best judgment to make the critical decisions of the future. Because you might think that Washington would learn from Iraq. But we've seen in this campaign just how bent out of shape Washington gets when you challenge its assumptions."

Not only has Barack just given every voter a simple decision tree for making when they enter the voting booth during primary season next year, but he has laid bare the truth that it is not just the emperor who has no clothes - it is the entire royal court!

The most basic fact by which we all live our lives is this: learn from your mistakes. It's how we learn to stand up by falling down, how we learn to walk upright by crawling on our knees, how we learn to balance a bicycle by unceremoniously getting tossed to the ground.

Trial and error: the world's most basic learning process and the methodology upon which all of our achievements are based.

And yet Washington, DC does not run on this process.

Mistakes are the one constant of our national politics and yet - where is the learning? Where is the simple recognition that touching the stove when it is hot hurts?

We as a people are being led by the worst among us: those too proud or too stupid to recognize that the eventuality of error is not just a probability but a given. And when you add that together with the highest stakes possible, the compounding of error can lead no where but to the edge of a precipice.

So there it is: Barack has told you what no other politician has or is or will say - the truth. With this, we now have a yardstick by which to measure him. The only question is - will you pick up the yardstick?

Sphere: Related Content