Bad Lessons

With one sentence, it was over. “We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty”. I don’t know what to say about the end of the Trayvon Martin case. Mr. Zimmerman had his day in court and the jury found him not guilty. This is what I, and so many others, had asked for — a day in court, which Mr. Martin wasn’t previously going to get at all. Still, I’m not satisfied, and I suspect many others aren’t either. It doesn’t seem to me that justice was done, though I respect that the jury thought otherwise.

Is it better to not even pretend people have rights, or is it better to pretend, then take them away? Does it matter if they were pretending or not if you lose publicly? None of these ideas seem good to me.

Here is my concern: after Rudy Guilianni became mayor of New York, there were some rumors that police were beating Black men at a higher rate and were saying to them, “Guilliani’s in power now!”or some such nonsense. The point there was that now that the city’s Black mayor was no longer in power, police felt empowered to let their racism out.

The stories were later proven to be false, but the “truth” behind the myth remained. Minorities should look out, because they have no power in the law. If you attack them, no one will believe them enough to get into the system, and once in the system — should that happen — they will get no justice.

The lesson learned is that hoodies are to innocent Black men what short skirts are to rape victims. Somehow, the victim wanted their victimization to happen.  And if they want to say otherwise, they shouldn’t bother because no one will believe them. This is America today.

Also this week, after the Supreme Court said that all marriages are equal, Indiana passed a law that could have clergy arrested for performing same-sex marriages. Yes, you heard it, clergy arrested for practicing their religion. All that fear that clergy would be “forced” to perform same-sex marriages  (how dare the government intrude on Christian worship?!) has led to … government intrusion into Christian religion. Gays have rights? Not in Indiana. Why? Because they made such a big stink about wanting rights of “normal” people for all those years. Indiana is attempting to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory. I don’t think it’ll work for long, if at all, but there it is.

Lastly, the incredible filibustering and hundreds of spectators disrupting of a few weeks ago could not prevent Rick Perry from passing his abortion rights-limiting law. Rules, people’s protest, extraordinary speaking, and the idea that women have rights over their own bodies not withstanding, the old men got their way. Get raped? Try to have an abortion and get raped again by the system — in some states literally — with a vaginal ultrasound.

Women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights — all of the things that my generation thought were important — have been undone (in pockets of America) in one week. 

In any case, what does America get from it, this learned helplessness of so many people? It gets depressed people who always aware of danger and feel they can’t do anything about their situation. If self-esteem and pride are the marks of a healthy system, then learned helplessness is the mark of a dysfunctional system and the lesson we are being taught is that more and more dysfunction is good. It is not. It will kill the very system it seeks to “purify”, because the term “dysfunction” simply means “doesn’t work”.

I remind you, dear reader, that there are billions of good people out there between the Atlantic and the Pacific, but few of them are in power right now. We must not learn the lessons that those in power would have us learn. We must look out for each other. We must try to find justice and commonality in each other. How we do that in the political climate we live in, I don’t know, but we must do it nonetheless — maybe on an individual basis, in our daily lives. Maybe we will have to elect people who care about all America. Maybe we will have to run for office ourselves and support each people who want all America to count.

In any case, I implore you, brothers and sisters, to not give up hope, to not believe that this is the way it has to be. You are better than that. You are better than those in power. I consider wearing a hoodie, a tampon and a rainbow flag every day as a sign of support. Know that in my heart, at the least — and in many, many other hearts — the same is true.






12 thoughts on “Bad Lessons

  1. By reading this, it sounds like you are disappointed in a verdict. (I don’t know anything about this case so I’m not sure why it matters so much to you.)

    Would you feel better if he was found guilty? What if was found guilty, but actually isn’t guilty… Would you still feel okay since *someone* has been found guilty and is paying the price for whatever crime was committed? Is there something you know that the jurors didn’t?

    1. A young Black boy was shot by a man who followed him through the neighborhood with a gun. The boy was unarmed, but tried to defend himself by sneaking up on the man after being followed.

      There was no arrest in the case for at least a month because of gun laws in Florida, even though the boy was dead.

      After much pressure, the man got a trial. The jury found that the man was acting in self- defense when he shot the boy even though he originally did nothing but be Black in the man’s neighborhood.

      Technically, it may well have been self-defense but the boy is still dead and it started because someone thought “He’s Black. He doesn’t belong here”.

      The parents had to fight to have an arrest, then a trial, and then this happened. It still doesn’t seem fair.

  2. Were you on the jury?

    And how do you know what the man’s thoughts were? Do you think it is okay to prosecute someone for their thoughts?

    1. Bob: here’s why I say what I say:
      MSNBC apologized on Monday after it inadvertently aired the unbleeped F-words being used in the George Zimmerman trial.

      Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. MSNBC, which has pledged to carry much of the trial live, was bringing viewers the prosecution’s opening statement on Monday. Unfortunately for the network, the first words of the statement quoted from Zimmerman’s profane conversation with a local dispatcher the night of Martin’s death: “F—ing punks. These assholes always get away.”

      Suddenly, the camera cut to anchor Chuck Todd. “Well, we’ve decided that we have institute a seven-second delay,” he said. “I want to apologize for that language that came out.”


      Major Events In The Trayvon Martin Case

  3. Okay, John, you are going to have to prove to me that YOU are not racist.

    A kid attacked a man. The man later called the kid a punk and an asshole.

    YOU seem to have added something about race.

    He didn’t call him the n-word. The man never even referred to race. And, frankly I agree that some kid who attacks a man is a punk and asshole.

    So, John, when did you become racist and why?

    1. Bob: by now, you know about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. You have read the news. You have seen the protests. You know that I am not the only person in America or the world who sees it the way that I do.

      If the story started when Martin attacked Zimmerman, it’d be a case of wilding and I’d agree with you. But the story doesn’t start there. It starts with a kid doing absolutely nothing, walking through a neighborhood and being stalked by a man with a gun. Why does the man with the gun pick THIS boy? That’s the question being asked.

      While there are people who think race isn’t involved, it’s not because he’s a boy. It’s not for any other reason than the color of his skin. Now the boy is dead. This happens a lot, though not neccessarily leading to death. If you don’t think so, then either you don’t know enough Black folk, are blind, or are racist. Because I DO know a lot of Black folks in depth and personally, I CAN’T be blind. If it makes me racist to see things through their eyes then I suppose I can live with that.

      On a personal note I want to point out that you started with the name calling, as you have before. It doesn’t need to happen.



  4. And you never said why you are so upset about the verdict. Some kid attacks a man, who has to defend himself. The attacker winds up dead because the man defended himself from his attacker. What’s your problem with that?

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