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November 30, 2018

Dark days

Opinion

November 30, 2018

The work I do demands interaction with homeless, often desperate people. Like me when I was on the streets, these men and women know the location of every restroom open to the public, the hours of the library and the rules they need to follow to stay in the building. This information is especially important on days the weather makes being outside uncomfortable if not downright dangerous. Those economically better off either choose to ignore the poor among them or turn to charitable acts; acts which are usually motivated by a belief one should care for their fellow human, but not enough to destroy the system that makes them poor and others rich. The very essence of a system that insists on inequality demands some kind of allegiance after all.

Then there are those whose very person is composed of a hate so vile they need nothing else to sustain themselves. They pine for the days when their hate was the law and not just the spirit in some parts of the nation. From where I sit, this describes the very nature of the current occupant of the White House and most of the members of his party. A policy honed over a history of slaughter and present in virtually every intervention by the US military is once again becoming commonplace on US soil and at its borders.

I say once again because there are millions of US residents who are shocked when border police fire tear gas at women and children; when cops kill unarmed (most Black) citizens and get away with it; when protesters are sprayed in the face with pepper spray in front of the news media; when people trying to feed hungry people without homes are arrested for trying to feed hungry people without homes.

Millions are shocked because they don’t understand the history of the nation they call home. Millions are shocked because they believe the nation is a good place. Millions are shocked until they are no longer shocked because the commonplace nature of these and other human rights abuses desensitizes them to the brutal nature of these acts and the system that requires them.

Drone strikes, once considered to be some kind of humane warfare (perhaps because it was Barack Obama who turned to them as his primary means of killing), are now barely discussed in the media. This is despite the fact that they have actually increased under Donald Trump. US wars of aggression have also continued, with civilian deaths increasing in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

That increase is present even when using the Pentagon rubric which essentially labels any male ten years and older as a combatant, much like any Black male over ten in the US is considered by police to be the domestic equivalent of a combatant. On the southern US border military and police forces combine their numbers to deny refugees their internationally protected right to asylum. Certain media outlets champion this violation of international law and cheer the use of tear gas on the refugees.

Many politicians proclaim their shock at the brutality against refugees while they continue to defend the ongoing US military operations around the world – operations which violate international law as a matter of policy.

The Trumpist reign has once again shown the world what the US really is. It has also created a certain chaos that proves how fragile the world capitalist system is. Both of these might be construed as positive phenomena. What matters it what is done with this knowledge. Overturning the neoliberal capitalist world order should be a good thing.

This article has been excerpted from: ‘The Audacity of Struggle’.

Courtesy: Counterpunch.org