Our place in history ...

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Written July 13 @ 8 PM Pacific (the night of the verdict)


It is in moments like these it seems as though believing in the institutions of the United States of America is no different than believing in the institutions of faith. The Catholic Church facilitated the genocide of tens of millions of indigenous Americans, but here I am the descendant of indigenous Mexicans from the mountains of Guanajuato who were denied humanity -- never mind equal opportunity, they were denied simple humanity -- going to church, praying, confessing my sin, asking for my forgiveness. When it would be more appropriate for the church to ask for forgiveness for what it did to my family. And what it has done since: causing Jews to die in Hitler's camps, children to be unforgivably abused by priests, etc. Today, a man who followed a child was found "not guilty." This man was carrying a gun. This man was told by a 911 dispatcher not to follow the child. But this man took his gun, and followed this child. Guilty means responsible. This man is responsible. This man is guilty. He is guilty of killing a child. And the justice system of the United States of America is supposed to work to uncover truth. It is supposed to work the way it does when justice prevails in a Hollywood film, or television drama. But today is a reminder that it is the systems of the United States of America that repeatedly fail to do the right thing at the right time. Slavery and Jim Crow existed because of laws, not customs. And today's Supreme Court is the one that overturned the Voting Rights Act. In Korematsu v. United States a US citizen challenged the legality of a Presidential Executive Order that forced Japanese descendant US citizens into Internment Camps. Korematsu lost. Hirabayashi v. United States was about mandatory curfews for Japanese Americans. Hirabayashi lost. The Supreme Court did not support them, or any other Japanese American. The Chinese Exclusion Act was a federal law, passed by Congress, and signed into being in 1882. It did not end until half way through the 20th Century. And only because the US government needed help fighting the Axis powers on the Pacific Front. Native Americans -- the people that were here when the Pilgrims rolled in, the ones that Disney romanticizes in Pocahontas, the people that Johnny Depp paints his face and claims to belong to in the Lone Ranger, the human beings whose willingness to feed the starving Europeans, every Thanksgiving... No Native Americans were citizens of the United States until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. In fact, they were prohibited from becoming citizens by the Naturalization Act of 1790 -- that stated that only whites, not Latinos, Asians, African Americans, or Native Americans could be citizens of the United States of America. It was the government of the United States of America that "repatriated" millions -- yes, millions, not dozens or hundreds or even thousands -- of Mexicans in the 1930s and 1950s. No one asked for proof of citizenship. They simply rounded up anyone with a brown face and put them on a train headed for Mexico. This literally happened in the 20th Century at the hands of the government of the United States. The very same Republic to which I Pledged Allegiance every single morning as a kid. And today, in the 21st Century, it is the government of the State of Arizona, the government of the State of Alabama, that have passed SB 1070 and HB 56 respectively, so they can once again have permission to stop anyone with a brown face. All in the name of feeding a federally supported deportation policy that has established a quota of 400,000 deportations a year. President Obama, who I campaign on behalf of, and voted for twice, is responsible for deporting more people in half a decade than 100 years worth of US President's were able to deport. And the reason we can't have immigration reform is because the GOP controlled House says that there's not enough enforcement? Please tell me again why it is that I tell people to have faith in the institutions of the United States of America when there is no wealth of empirical evidence compelling them to? A man followed a child when he was told not to. He was carrying a gun, when he did not need to. This man had a car and a nearby home. He could have avoided conflict. And he was told by a 911 operator to avoid it. But he sought it. And he killed a child. These are facts. And facts are supposed to matter in the United States precisely because We The People does not contain any footnotes, endnotes, parentheses, or asterisks that explicitly exclude Constitutional protection from anyone in the United States. The system is broken. I need to go eat and find a proof point that convinces me that it can truly be fixed.


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