America has always been a very grand Potemkin village. We flash a vision of a bright, shining house on the hill. We infatuate humanity with overwrought images of success and riches. But, when you get to the Shining House and open the door, inside you'll find only rats, roaches and the virulent cancer of hypocrisy. The crude truth is our evil history has finally caught up with us. Centuries of debasement and debauchery have taken a serious toll. The tragic truth is our national narrative speaks sadly for itself.
Recent events gravely illustrate how far down into the Devil's Pit our vaunted nation has tumbled. Stunning instances of injustice cry out for fundamental reform every day. Our alleged leaders spend their time contriving excuses; ignoring the obvious and continuing the status quo. The Tawana Brawley case is a perfect example.
Tawana Brawley was a young black teenager who was found in a dumpster in upstate New York. She was in a near-comatose state due to blood loss from her brutal injuries. The hospital report indicated she had been savagely and repeatedly raped. Racist words were cruelly etched into her flesh. Her skull was battered. And she was at risk of dying from hypothermia from the time she spent in the cold bin. Ms. Brawley recovered and submitted a profile of her ugly attackers. She said they were white men and some of them wore police uniforms. Also, she stated they drugged and gang-raped her for three days. The authorities made little effort to arrest and indict the perpetrators of these horrific crimes. Instead, they chose to attack the victim. Although she was underage, the media plastered her face and name on the front pages. The police promptly lost the evidence (rape kit and clothes) of her assault. Then, they ganged up on her advisor, Rev. Al Sharpton. They refashioned the case from a search for Ms. Brawley's attackers to an investigation of Rev. Sharpton's dodgy past. This trial was shut down because the evidence would've exposed the fact blacks rarely receive justice from the bench or fairness in the media.
Recently, we had a virtual reenactment of the Brawley incident. It's called Strippergate. Several white members of the Duke lacrosse team hired two black strippers. One of the strippers later staggered into a hospital emergency room. She filed a sexual assault report against some of the young men. A physical examination revealed she was sexually traumatized and drugged. The media quickly branded the woman as a blackmail artist and liar. The Duke athletes were applauded for their integrity. Again, this case was barred from the court house door. The district attorney, who brought this case before the grand jury, is now being hounded out of office. There's only one point at issue in this crime: Where did the date rape drug come from? If you find the origin of the drug, you'll then know who's telling the truth. Now, we may never know the facts. These crimes were covered up due to their racist, sexist nature. Also, the alleged veracity of testimony from rich white men had to be declared sacrosanct no matter the cost.
The Viet Nam war was the worst military intervention in US history. More than 58,000 Americans and perhaps four million Southeast Asians were senselessly mass murdered. Several hundred billion dollars were wasted. And our national standing as a just nation was irreparably defiled. You'd think this unwise war would've cautioned our leaders against a repeat performance. But, George W. Bush was waiting in the wings to disabuse us of that notion. The Iraq war isn't about troop surges, purges or splurges. This conflict is wrong because it's illegal and immoral. And this fact alone indicts the Bush mob for crimes against humanity. Two wars...two debacles...thousands murdered...billions wasted. And what do we have to show for all this madness? No lessons learned.
The 1999 Columbine massacre sent shock waves of fear throughout our entire nation. Fevered demands for stronger gun control legislation filled the media. The National Rifle Association lobbied heavily to stonewall every practical attempt to toughen our gun laws. After months of futility and, later, the threat of a Bush veto, the issue was quietly moved off the national agenda. In fact, no viable presidential candidate supported gun control in the 2004 election cycle. Failure to address this problem set the stage for yet another massacre. This time it was on the campus of Virginia Tech. Cho Seung-hui went on a shooting rampage which resulted in the deaths of at least 33 students with dozens more injured. Americans possess enough guns to arm every man, woman and child. More important, all these guns are in the hands of a sixth of our entire population. Gun control is only a band-aid on this festering ulcer. Despite laws barring the sale of guns to the mentally disturbed and heavily sedated, these codes didn't stop Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold or Cho Seung-hui from arming themselves to the teeth.
The thread that binds these woeful events is our ongoing failure to deal with our racist, sexist, imperialist history. It's built on the unbending belief that crimes can be justified or condemned depending on who the perpetrator is. The massacres at Columbine and Virginia Tech are roundly condemned as the work of madmen. Yet, the Pentagon and our World War industry contrive dubious national security excuses to butcher innocent civilians on a daily basis. In our convoluted nation, industrial strength mass murder seems to be more acceptable than the evil deeds of lone gunmen.
America is dying because our economy is based on death, disease and destruction. Our World War industry sells death and destruction to virtually every nation. Result: Millions are murdered each year. Our meat industry sells products full of drugs and chemicals. Result: Millions die or are sickened. Big Pharma sells expensive, ineffective and dangerous drugs and medical devices. Result: Thousands die from bad medicine and defective implants. The tobacco industry sells the only product, except guns, which is guaranteed to prematurely end your life. Result: A half-million Americans die from smoking related diseases each year along with millions around the world. Our lakes are polluted. Our fish are inedible. Our water is undrinkable. Our air is unbreathable. Our schools are fire traps. And our standard of living is unsustainable. This fetid list goes on and on and on.
The infamous Imus imbroglio may seem to be of little consequence next to the major problems outlined above. But, it's of the utmost importance because all these troubles begin with the sarcastic inference some people are better than others. Imus tried to downplay the severity of his racially tinged remarks by saying hip hop artists are guilty of the same verbal insensitivity. This is ridiculous. Just because some people behave like barbarians, this is no license for Imus to behave in the same way. Cleaning up our hurtful thoughts and language is the first step on the long road to national redemption.
When tourists come to America, they first pay their respects at our great monuments to peace and justice: the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other sacred venues. After this task, the next thing they do is find the nearest church featuring black gospel music. There's a reason why this music has such a vibrant global appeal. It's called hope. Gospel songs and spirituals are powerful anthems for hope and redemption. While our misguided media spend billions on mindless gibberish posing as entertainment, the real story of what's happening in America goes unreported. Our citizens want spiritually inspired leadership in the worst way. Not the superficial religio-fascist-flimflam that George Bush offers. We want leadership based on commitments rather than commandments. The soul of humanity is starving from the lack of values based on spiritual enlightenment. Every CD featuring hurtful language should be tossed in the garbage and replaced with gospel music. The legendary Hezekiah Walker ends his Family Affair II CD with one of the most awesome gospel songs ever written. It's called: I Need You To Survive. The simple lyrics are:
I need you/ You need me/ We're all a part of God's body/
Stand with me/ Agree with me/ We're all a part of God's body/
It is His will that every need be supplied/ You are important to me/
I need you to survive/ I pray for you/ You pray for me/ I love you/
I need you to survive/ I won't harm you with words from my mouth/
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