Way More West
From Tamir Rice to Akai Gurley the names of African American men and boys killed by police keep piling up. The lack of a grand jury indictment in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson sparked a protest movement with signs and shouts of “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot” and “Black Lives Matter.” The death of Eric Garner in New York was videoed around the world. His plea of “I Can’t Breathe” became a rallying cry. Many people are asking where is justice? Illusions have been shattered that we live in a "post-racial" society. Fundamental questions are being raised. Is property more important than people? Racism, poverty and inequality run deep. African-Americans are disproportionately incarcerated. Dr. King believed in the transformative power of love and as he said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
When language has been mutilated and drained of meaning how are we to understand democracy? Its mere invocation by politicians and their media echoers generates a chorus of hosannas. The reality is different. Democracy has been reduced to elections, awash in money, where there are marginal choices. Sometimes the candidates are so bad one can say: Pick your poison: cyanide or arsenic. The Great Recession has shaken things up. From the cradle of democracy: Greece, to the self-proclaimed beacon of it today: the U.S., people are asking fundamental questions. Democracy has been off-stage and in the wings for decades as corporations, enabled by political elites, have amassed unprecedented power. During elections democracy is trotted out to center stage and then disappears behind the curtains again. That could be changing. The Occupy movement is rocking the comfort zone of the 1%.
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