Texas Comes Full Circle

On November 22, 1963, a white man named Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated the President of the United States. Whether Oswald, a communist fellow traveler who had previously defected to the Soviet Union, intended to kill John F. Kennedy to strike a blow against American imperialism, or whether he was a patsy set up by the “deep state” to cover up their murder of an insufficiently militarist member of the ruling class, is still unclear. We’ll probably never know the real answer.

What we do know is that two years before I was born, Lee Harvey Oswald went to Dallas, Texas, and opened up the gates of hell. The 1960s was a decade where every decent public figure was murdered. Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, one by one each leader who could have made a difference was stuck down by a “lone gunman.” Well, in Fred Hampton’s case, he was assassinated Gestapo style by the Chicago police, who busted down his door and riddled him with bullets, but most people outside of the activist left have forgotten him anyway. The slaughter of the 1960s, having eliminated all of the good liberals and smart black nationalists, left us with nothing but stupid black nationalists like Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton, and venal, corrupt white politicians like the Clintons. We’re still paying the price.

In the Summer of 2014, the ongoing police murder of black men came to a head in Ferguson Missouri, where we witnessed police SWAT teams point machine guns at non-violent protesters. Unlike the early 1960s, where even the reluctant Kennedy brothers finally called in federal troops to put a stop to the violence in the Jim Crow South, the political and media elites in 2014 did nothing. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, even Bernie Sanders watch police murder after police murder and respond with nothing but bland platitudes. They give the kind of speeches politicians are obligated to make, but little more. None of them has shown the leadership that would put us back on the right track. The lawyerly and evasive Obama, who always tries to please everybody, as usual winds up pleasing nobody. The more the political and media elite speaks, the less they seem to do, and the more they seem to divide black and white Americans against one another.

So here we are in the Summer of 2016, 53 years after the murder of John F. Kennedy, back in Dallas, the city that gave us the term “lone gunman.”  Just like Lee Harvey Oswald, Micah Xavier Johnson is a veteran of the United States military. Unlike with Oswald, who has never been considered a “representative of the white race,” the media seems positively certain they know why Johnson opened fire on police officers guarding (or more accurately trying to repress) a Black Lives Matter protest. He did it because he hated white people. He did it because he hated cops. Well, he may have. He may not have. Deathbed confessions off camera in the middle of the chaos of a mass shooting are irrelevant. We’ll probably never really know, but the damage has been done. The right wing media has already framed the incident as a “black on cop crime.”  The NY Post and the Drudge Report  are busy huffing and puffing and trying to spin the massacre in favor of Donald Trump. The Black Lives Matter movement has been tarred by a murder in which it had no involvement.

And the gates of hell remain open in Dallas, Texas.

6 thoughts on “Texas Comes Full Circle”

  1. I immediately thought of Malcolm X’s statement: “The chickens have come home to roost”. When black soldiers returned after WWII to an apartheid America, lynchings, and economic discrimination in every sphere of their lives, they were angry. Black soldiers fought in WWI, in the Civil War, and in the Revolutionary War, to defend a country that did not accord them the basic rights of citizenship. This led to the Civil Rights movement. And in the 1960s, young black men got to listen to Mohammed Ali say “no Vietnamese ever called me nigger” when refusing to comply with the draft. That gave an entire generation pause for concern. In Vietnam, there were many instances of soldiers fragging their officers.

    Since that time, black and brown people continue to be the objects of government recruiting, with the promise of a secure future, job skills, good benefits, and a paid-for college education, that many could not otherwise obtain. It seems inevitable that when you recruit the “best and the brightest” from communities of color- those who are the most courageous, strong, capable, and give them weapons skills, then send them off to war and most likely PTSD, as well as a return to economic uncertainty and racism here, one of those soldiers cracking and going on a mass murder spree against the symbols of institutionalized racism- the police- will occur.

    There is no Ali on the airwaves to remind young prospective soldiers that they are about to be used as cannon fodder and asked to sacrifice their lives, or the best years of their lives, in an imperialist war, to defend an economic system that keeps them the last hired and first fired, and that has caused to black people a loss of $2 trillion in home equity since the 2008 economic collapse. There is only someone with outstanding weapons skill, physical strength and agility, the ability to plan and execute military strategy and maneuvers. Then add to that a cut in veterans’ services and mental health care, and this is the formula for what happened in Dallas.

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