William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 5 Scene 3
Is fear the only thing we feel as we stare through the open window into the future, certainly seems this might be the truth of it, at least for many of us.
The question must be asked, what is it we fear? The better question is, what do those in power fear.
Is it the future itself; is it the unknown and unknowable? Or is it something else, something we can see out of the corner of our eye that frightens the hell out of us. Is it the loss of something most of us don’t have but are certain we could if only, what?
If only, something would happen the way it was promised, by all those damnable slick men way back in the day who said to us, it was them folks over there who were sucking up what was ours, taking away our jobs, our tax dollars and if we voted for them they would make it right. Those slick politicians who said if we would pay a bit more so the ‘job creators’ could pay a great deal less, it would trickle down to us, you know we would be lifted up with them and those moochers and leeches would be left behind in the gutters where they belonged. If only, it would begin to happen the way it was promised way back when St. Ronnie started telling us the Gospel of Trickle Down and the Parable of the Welfare Queen.
What is it they fear?
I think I know what it is so many in this nation truly do fear. They fear the loss of power. They fear the loss of autonomy. They fear the loss of true majority and the loss of privilege. They fear they will no longer be able to walk through the world with complete sovereignty over every speck of dirt their feet touch and the assurance no person can push them off their pedestal.
That is what they fear and that fear is palatable. It is clear in the laws passed to prevent people from going to the polls and from voting even when they get there. It is clear in the militarization of police forces across the nation, the shift from ‘protect and serve’ to ‘command and control’. It is clear as the corruption of justice becomes blatant, supported by corporate media and corporate owned politicians. It is clear as prison systems become private, corrupt and for profit feeding the greed of the same small feudal lords who own the defense contracts, the militarization of the police, the guns on our streets, our state houses and Washington.
What is it they fear?
I will tell you what they fear. They fear the loss of Whiteness as a sign of Good and Right. They fear the loss of control. They fear the loss of Power. They fear they might not be the biggest, baddest monster in the woods and it scares the living hell out of them. What are they doing? They are trying hard to crush all dissent by any means necessary. They have been doing so for years, decades really. For a brief moment in time, it shifted, but not really what happened is things calmed down and we all looked in a different direction. The truth of the matter is, it is hard as hell to wrest power from the hands of those who have it. It is difficult to convince those who are hanging on to let go, to fall backwards that someone will catch them.
I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1960 in response to racist signs held up during a motorcade in Tennessee
It seems we haven’t come far since the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Johnson. The difference between today and 1960, we have a Black President the hate, fear and outright disrespect shown towards him and his family has escalated to a fever pitch in direct response to the fear of the White Man, no matter their place on the economic scale. Oddly, it is predominately the poor and ignorant who hate him, in fact the lower on the economic ladder the more vehemently the hate is expressed.
What do they fear?
Those in power, fear dissent, ultimately they fear the loss of power and thus they are doing everything they can to retain their power. They are crushing the spirit of this nation. They are crushing everything that could make us great, humiliating, imprisoning and killing communities and people. They are dividing us, making those of us who should come together in common cause enemies instead. They are destroying our education system, making each generation more ignorant than the last. We are allowing this, we are buying the pabulum they are selling; sucking at the tit of mass consumerism as if we were starving and they are the sow of plenty.
We sit back and nod our heads, sit on our hands, stare stupidly at the television screen and agree as some overpaid and under-informed talking head delivers lie after lie to our living room, then we repeat it to our friends and family as if it were gospel. We allow and enable the rich and powerful to create a storyline of criminal history for every single unarmed Black Person killed by the police, armed citizen or vigilante. Remember they are the enemy of Whiteness, Rightness and all ‘we hold dear’.
We sit back and nod our heads as families are broken and the pipeline is filled from school to prison, we say not one single thing as schools crumble with not a single cent spent for infrastructure, school improvements, education improvements. Meanwhile prisons continue to be built nationwide and the vast majority of them are filled from those very schools that are crumbling. The false picture being painted, the constant harping of ‘Black-on-Black’ crime with no mention of ‘White-on-White’ crime, no mention of how often one is prosecuted over the other, no mention of outcomes resulting in long prison sentences to feed the for profit system.
What do they fear?
I think they fear we might figure it all out and we just might come together. We just might reach across the vast barrier and rise up. We just might overthrow the oligarchy, the feudal lords of profit and greed before it is too late.
What do you fear? I fear it might be too late.