Out of Control


Reading time – 3:49  .  .  .

The tectonic plates are shifting rapidly, leaving lots of us wobbling a bit and looking for something secure to hold onto. Indeed, a recent NBC/WSJ poll reported that 80% of Americans think our country is “out of control.”

I don’t know what “out of control” means. Absent a restating of the survey question to something specific, all we have is speculation as to its meaning. I’ll take a stab at that.

My guess is that this poll suggests that with the pandemic well underway and continuing to worsen, coupled with police murders and weeks of street demonstrations, plus the ongoing divisiveness made worse by the President, Americans are agitated. It feels like chaos in our lives. The familiar has disappeared and that makes us feel out of control. We humans don’t much like feeling out of control, so perhaps that’s what the term “out of control” in this poll means,* although if you’re Black this might feel like the beginning of being in control – at last.

Given the enormous outpouring of sorrow, anger, frustration and indignation triggered by the murder of George Floyd, and given the ubiquitous Black Lives Matter imperative found on T-shirts, on hand-carried signs and in enormous yellow letters on the street leading to the White House, it would be reasonable to think that this is a moment of change, a moment for progress; that this is a time that will begin to stop racial atrocities and begin a national reform. I’ll give you a “maybe” on that – here’s why.

People have tried for over 100 years to create federal legislation to stop lynchings, but those efforts were always frustrated by the work of southern legislators who either liked having the option of lynching open to them or were cowards who caved into the hateful demands of their segregation loving constituents. That happened over 200 times in the first half of the 20th century during some of the ugliest parts of Jim Crow.

Now the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching bill has been passed in the House and been carried to the Senate. It should be in front of that august body to deliberate over it for not more than 8 minutes and 46 seconds and then passed unanimously. But that isn’t what’s happening.

In a blazing, brain-searing moment of déjà vu, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has stuck his screwdriver into the spokes of the wheels of justice just as they were actually beginning to turn. He has stalled the process.

Rand Paul just can’t seem to find a way to support a bill that would make lynching a federal crime and help to stop it. He claims that he wants to narrow the focus so that minor offenses don’t result in major jail time. He has his finely tuned principles, you see, and he adheres to them to the point of tying up the bill. It seems that the principle of black men and boys staying alive just isn’t quite as important to him, so he’s making the perfect the enemy of the good. Rand Paul is way out of control.

Let’s be clear: This bill is about lynching! You know, binding a man’s hands behind his back, tightening a rope around his neck, then dropping him until the rope snaps tight and breaks his neck. Or he just dangles and gurgles as he slowly suffocates. Lynching!

At the same time there is a police reform bill making its way through Congress and it has nearly 200 co-sponsors. Fantastic! Here’s the key question: Why aren’t there 535 co-sponsors? What is it that the foot-draggers just don’t understand when they see hundreds of thousands of people in the streets and demonstrations in every city of our country? The foot-draggers are out of control.

But, don’t worry about those guys, because we have something for them.

Dear foot-draggers,

Figure it out fast, or we will make you available for alternative employment in November.

Most sincerely,

We The People

Last thing

President Trump was accompanied by Ivanka and Attorney General Big Lies Barr from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a deeply spiritual religious moment. Just kidding! Trump knows nothing about spirituality or religion. He does know about photo ops and that’s why he was there.

This less than divine moment came after anonymous thugs from various federal agencies had tear gassed, shot, pepper sprayed and beaten peaceful demonstrators whom they then corralled using horses to make Lafayette Square Park ready for the president and his unholy entourage to stroll to the aforementioned, disingenuous photo op. Included in the president’s group was Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was wearing his camouflage fatigues and looked like a battlefield commander who was entirely complicit in the martial law coup.

Apparently, good sense finally caught up with Gen. Milley on June 11, when he apologized for his actions, saying his participation was “a mistake” and saying his presence “created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.” Ya think?!?!!

Better late than never, Gen. Milley, but the visual of your presence at that reprehensible event is seared into the public record and no apology will erase the fact that, through you, our military was involved in a domestic attack on innocent American citizens doing nothing more than exercising their rights as citizens.

You’re Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. MIlley. Top dog, main man. You’re supposed to know better. Where were you when We The People needed you? You were way out of control.

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*Control is an illusion, grasshopper.

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JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
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2 Responses to Out of Control
  1. Mike Reply

    An Anti-Lynching bill? Is there also an Anti-Gladiator-Games bill?!! This bill is waaaay late.