Good morning, all humble-minded; all plagues and plumes; all frothing-at-the-mouth. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.
First let me tell you straight up that this may as well be an obligatory post, considering it’s been three weeks since I’ve done one of these and I desperately want these things to compile into a book in the very near future. Realistically, it’ll be another year – at least – before Words From The Midwest will be released. But in the meantime, I just really should be writing more, and Words is the best and easiest outlet I have for my compulsory whims, etcetera. So, I think I’ll revert back to how these things were when I began them.
In doing so, let me first let you know that I’m listening to Jack White’s most recent solo album, Lazaretto, and it’s wonderful, hard rocking, perfection. I really think it’s my favorite thing he’s done since The White Stripes. Maybe not, I dunno. I don’t know his work post-Stripes as well as perhaps I should. But as Temporary Ground plays, I’m reminded of what I want music to sound like.
Honestly, I think I may stop with that information and bow out early in this piece, because what I really want to write about is Baltimore, yet I really could just refer you to what I wrote after the Ferguson riots. Because it wasn’t too long ago that I was punched in the gut enough to wholly voice my opinion on matters as the response to such news as to make a city tear itself apart in its attempts to speak out. It were my thoughts then that rioting and looting are counter-productive, and I maintain that stance.
But Baltimore isn’t Ferguson. It’s Baltimore. And the case in question is far greaterly fucked up than what happened in Missouri some weeks ago. But, bottom line: Black Lives Matter. Meaning, All Lives Matter. And the problem with police forces all over this fair country of ours reflects well the problem with violence stateside and abroad, fueled by the militarization deemed neccessary for the Peace Process the US government – by city, state, and country as a whole – employs and has employed for the past 50 fucking years. It’s only gotten worse, mind you. The Nobel Peace Prize winning President Obama has broken the record for arms sales by a US president, most of which have gone into the already imploding Middle East; we have bombed seven Muslim-majority countries in the past three years. I mean, we’re fighting in Iraq with Iran as an ally against ISIS and we’re fighting in Yemen AGAINST Iran. We have finally figured out a way to be fighting ourselves. And this information may very well be the analogical equivalent of a roaring ghost: a select few people in Baltimore took the news of another young black man being killed – by those very people who are supposed to serve and protect EVERYONE – and completely reverted the attention of a city and a nation away from the common goal of peace and justice, and just threw gas on the proverbial fire, lighting literal ones like it was everything they could do to impassively strike back.
Let me be clear: striking back is simply a must. You think riots have never changed the world? You’re wrong. They still aren’t the way to get things accomplished, but that isn’t the point. The culled disenfranchisement of an entire subset of People, like oil boils over and starts a grease fire, with the only cure being a wet blanket thrown over top. But instead, the National Guard – in all its weaponly power – is deployed, as – in keeping with this metaphor – a bucket of water splashed instead, spreading the flames ten-fold. Most of the people protesting in Baltimore have been peaceful. But that isn’t what garners ratings, am I right?
And so we sit back. And so we condemn. But we should really get up and run toward the fuckers with arms with arms up and out and see what happens. Maybe they’d fire bullets into our fronts instead of our backs Maybe an embrace is inevitable. We are but animals seeking love and understanding; Justice. Not equality. Justice.
There’s a difference.
Will we ever learn? I’m not sure, sitting here. But to quote Mr White: “is freedom a gift that we only give to the ones that say ‘I love you.’ and…Who is the who telling who what to do?”
We need to have a serious conversation. A Conversation. Because if we can learn anything from anything, it’s that words solve problems. And there’s plenty of people in Baltimore who have said what the entire Progressive movement is thinking: Too many people are dying at the hands of the Police; the Media has focused on the wrong news in these situations too many times; and to quote Martin Luther King: “a riot is the language of the unheard.”
Maybe that’s out of context, but it doesn’t matter because young black men will continue to be killed unless something is done to circumvent the violence of the few garbage human beings who just so happen to have a badge for their defense
Until next time.