Civics is study of how we govern ourselves. Can we agree that we govern ourselves through our Constitution, our laws, customs, popular culture, and habits, and how all of these things interact to create our way of life? Let’s call the analysis of that interaction connecting the dots. You were left with several dots to connect on preparation for discussing the killing of Trayvon. Have you thought about Mr. Looby’s idea of America and had an opportunity to view the “Story of Citizens United” and the “Truthout” article on “Stand your Ground” laws? Can you connect the dots to picture the American people, as opposed to the combined interests and power of major corporations, in control of our Country? Can you connect the dots to fit within the frame of governance cast by the Preamble to our Constitution?
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Finally, can you connect the dots to show a pathway to an even chance for Trayvon to fashion and follow to success in America? I connect the dots this way. I believe that while a man named George Zimmerman pulled the trigger that killed Trayvon, something we may call the American Corporate Empire put the gun in his hand and the image of young Black men in his head.
Your generation cannot afford to be as pessimistic as the author of the important highlighted article, who believes that, “...we have no choice but wait patiently till the collapse, anxiously aware that our bizarre political system will just keep degrading America’s moral values, pricing, buying, selling, trading morals like commodities, because in the final analysis everything has a price and everyone has a price in our hot new exciting Market Society.” Young Black Americans, especially, must not assign themselves to pessimism. They, among all young Americans must learn to connect the dots. Mr. Younge’s article on Mr. Obama’s response to surveillance of Americans tells the truth about Mr. Obama’s allegiances to the American Corporate Empire.
That allegiance makes him unwilling to look openly at the shame of our “drug wars,” to attack the immorality of our prison system, or to focus on the unconscionable un-employment of black youth. Some black leaders of American pop-culture think that being there is enough.
Sam Yette disagreed. Like Mr. Looby, Sam was a Black Tennessean, and the most brave and prescient journalist of his time. When he was writing “The Choice: The issue of Black Survival in America” he was perplexed by the necessity of Black participation in the halls of power and the inevitability of service to that power. He left it to those black faces who lived the paradox, as he did, to consider how they were “being useful” to the Empire: (1) they provided color credibility wherever such credibility was crucial to selling an otherwise invalid product; (2) they were being neutralized from using their potential for radical action; and (3) they were in a position to take responsibility for anti-Black policies and decisions.
Do you imagine Mr. Obama conscious of the paradox? No?
As a former high ranking official of The Office of Economic Opportunity, Sam Yette was acutely aware of another detail of the American Empire when he was writing The Choice,” white poverty. But in 1970 he could not imagine how brutally the Empire could be in democratizing that destitution.
That is a dot the friends of Trayvon should not fail to connect.
Let’s pick-up there with this read ahead in mind.