Monday, June 1, 2020

A White Supremacist Nation Is Not And Cannot Ever Be Great

Portland, Maine May 31, 2020 photo credit: Kelly F. Merrill
A white supremacist country is not and can never be great.

Our tax dollars are spent on vast amounts of weaponry and violent crowd control technology and equipment every year; this year we learned what weak investments were made to provide for a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the disease began to spread in the US, mass shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) have resulted in health care providers working for months now with inadequate protection, and a mere fraction of the population being tested due to shortages of items as basic as nasal swabs.

People are fed up with unaccountable policing that targets Black men, women, and children and deals out injury and death without meaningful consequences. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in all 50 states in cities including but not limited to Minneapolis, New York City, Portland (both Oregon and Maine), Louisville, Austin, Dallas, and Flint. Mostly peaceful protests have been plagued by agents provocateurs committing acts of property damage, and marred by police employing tanks, drones, and shooting at residents on their own front porches. Journalists have particularly been targeted -- shot at and arrested -- while attempting to do their jobs.

Portland, Maine May 31, 2020 photo credit: Kelly F. Merrill

Meanwhile, the President who failed to contain the pandemic is tweeting inflammatory messages intended as stochastic violence. That is, cueing his white supremacist followers to attack protesters and escalate nonviolent protests to violent ones.

It is possible to imagine that a President facing an election he seems destined to lose would see fomenting civil war as a way out of the necessity of holding elections in November.

It is clear that community control of police is imperative if the US is to heal and move forward. 

It is unclear what National Guard soldiers think they are doing when they follow orders to attack Americans at their own homes. The Posse Comitatus Act made it illegal to use the US military against the American people. It is clear that the President is often confused about the provisions of the Constitution he swore to uphold. Recently he accused the private company Twitter of violating the 1st amendment which guarantees the right to protected political speech among other rights, exhibiting a misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights' function to protect our rights from encroachment by government.

A white supremacist nation is not and cannot ever be great.

Portland Maine May 31, 2020 photo credit: Kelly F. Merrill

I am calling on Congress to either return to Washington DC or begin working remotely, immediately, to address the vacuum of leadership during these dangerous times.

I am calling on the legislature in my state to invest in anti-racist education preK-12 to be delivered remotely starting as soon as possible. This urgent need cannot wait until regular school programming begins in the fall. Only education can address the racist assumptions and misconceptions at the heart of rampant police violence against people of color.

I am calling on the governor in my state to include an indigenous (non-immigrant) Black person, that is, someone descended from African slaves kidnapped and brought to America, in every decision making body under her jurisdiction. This includes committees charged with recommending policies for economic recovery, education, policing, housing, food production and distribution and, especially, health care policy.

The disproportionate number of Black people who are arrested, tried, and incarcerated in Maine as compared with their presence in the population speaks for itself -- the problem is here, it is us. The disproportionate rate of infection and death among Black people from the COVID-19 disease here in Maine is further evidence of a racist economy, and a racist health care system.

Portland, Maine  May 31, 2020  photo credit: Kelly F. Merrill

Our budget priorities are racist, our criminal justice system is racist, our education system is racist, and our health care system is racist.

A white supremacist state is not and cannot ever be great.

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