Friday, November 28, 2014

Lessons from the Ferguson Fiasco

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." - James 3:17 (NIV)

- By: Larry Walker II -

It was back in the late 90's when a good friend of mine, an old Air Force veteran named Dan, relayed to me that he had recently killed a young Black male at a bus stop. When I first heard this I was shocked and in disbelief. Old Dan must have been close to 70 years old at the time, his body riddled with cancer, brain tumors, and other serious ailments, worn-down by years of battling with the disease of alcoholism. To me, he didn't appear capable of killing anyone. I had talked with him every day since the incident, but he didn't bother to mention a word about it for more than a week.

Dan was a Russian immigrant, a tough old bird, and a proud veteran. Yet his physical ailments eventually got the best of him. He passed away just a few months after the incident; God rest his soul. He spent the last day of his life sober, and doing the same as he had on the day he took that young man’s life, helping young folks recover from their struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. Here's the story he told me.

He had just gotten off of work and walked to the bus stop to make his way home. It was raining that day, so he was carrying an umbrella. As he sat there, smoking a cigarette while waiting on the bus, a car full of young Black males crept by slowly on the opposite side of the street, its occupants staring him down. Suddenly, one guy shouted out, "What you looking at cracker?" Dan tried to ignore them, but his heart began to race due to the threatening tone.

Then the predictable happened, his worst nightmare. The car made a U-turn, and slowly pulled up, parking just a few yards away. Suddenly, a young man darted out of the vehicle and began walking directly towards him, one hand concealed under his coat. Again he shouted out, "I said, what the eff you looking at cracker?" Dan replied, "I'm not looking at anything, just waiting on the bus." The young man looked around, and then sped up his approach, his hand yet concealed.

When he got within a couple of feet, that's when my friend reacted. He took the only weapon at his disposal, his trusty umbrella, and lunged at the perpetrator, thrusting it straightway through his abdomen, a fatal blow, killing him instantly. The car sped off. The police arrived within minutes, and determined that the deceased indeed had a concealed firearm under his coat and had intended to do my friend harm. The cops believed Dan's story and he wasn't charged with any crime. It was clearly a case of self-defense. There was no public outcry. Not even a story on the evening news. It was just one of those senseless deaths that occur nearly every day across this nation.

Dan-o didn't want to mention it to me, because he thought I would be upset over a White man taking the life of a Black youth, but I reassured my friend that he had done right. I couldn't care less whether the perpetrator was Black, White, Brown, Red or Yellow; he had no right to threaten my friend’s life. I was more than happy that Dan had survived. Now let's turn to Ferguson, Missouri.

Lessons from Ferguson

I don't know any of the parties involved in the Ferguson Fiasco. I've been to St. Louis, where I recall being warned not to venture into certain parts of town alone, but I’ve never been to Ferguson, and don't think I'll ever visit. The point of this post is not to pass judgment, but to glean whatever lessons we may from the tragic events surrounding the death of Michael Brown. My hope is to aid in preventing the next senseless death of perhaps one young man or woman, no matter their race.

I stand firmly against police brutality, having been a victim in the past, and I’m not afraid to call them out on it. My stomach turns every time I hear about an unjust killing, whether committed by police officers, the military or anyone else. However, at the same time, I am keenly aware that not a day passes in America without some young thug robbing, beating, kidnapping, or taking the life of an innocent victim. Sometimes they get away with it for a space, but eventually, thanks to the police, they get caught. Other times they pick on the wrong person, like old Dan, and wind up severely injured or dead.

In no way am I implying that the police are always right. Far too often they use unnecessary force, and too often they unjustly injure or take the life of an innocent victim, who is merely attempting to comply. However, there is a reason we have police officers, and there is a reason they carry firearms. With this in mind, what lessons can we learn from the Ferguson Fiasco?

Mike Brown, the young man killed by a police officer in Ferguson, committed a crime when he shoplifted a box of cigars from a local merchant, and then strong-armed one of its employees on his way out the door. The incident was caught on tape, so there’s no way it can be disputed. Now here's a newsflash for the rabble-rousers: Stealing is wrong. That's the Eighth Commandment for you simpletons. "Thou shalt not steal." It’s also a Class A Misdemeanor in Missouri, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Assaulting a store clerk, or anyone else, is also a crime, punishable by anywhere from 15 days in jail and a $500 fine, up to 15 years in prison.

If you’re not aware that theft and assault are wrong, then you haven't been brought up right. If Mike Brown wasn't aware, then we can blame only one of two parties. His ignorance was either due to bad parenting, or his failure to obey the Fifth Commandment, which teaches us to honor our mother and father. Either Mike Brown's parents failed to teach him right from wrong, or he disobeyed their instruction. But so far, I haven't heard a word of edification, from any of the so-called community leaders or rabble-rousers, instructing our youth that theft and assault are wrong. These are the first lessons of the Ferguson Fiasco.

Mike Brown's third, fourth and fifth mistakes occurred when he disobeyed the instructions of a police officer, disrespected him and ultimately struck him in the face. The truth is had Mr. Brown risen his hands from the get go, at the moment the police officer commanded him to stop; he would still be alive today. The time to put your hands up is at the moment you’re confronted by a police officer, not after insulting him or her, punching them in the face, and struggling for control of their weapon. For you simpletons, that means get your hands out of your pockets, out of your waistband, from up under your coat, drop anything you’re holding and raise both hands in the air. This is the final lesson of the Ferguson Fiasco.

Since when did it become acceptable behavior for a young man to strike a cop? If you think this is acceptable, and you choose to practice it in your own affairs, then your days will likely be short and miserable. If you are a Christian, the book of Romans, Chapter 13, versus 2-5 teaches us that police officers are appointed by God, and when we resist them, we will incur God's judgment. It further advises that we have no reason to fear a police officer so long as we are obeying the law. However, it also warns us that if we are up to no good, we should be afraid, because they don't carry a sidearm in vain.

"Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience."

If you’re not a Christian, then why not apply some good old common sense? The surest way to get roughed-up, injured or shot by the police is to resist them, disobey their orders, get smart with them, or even more stupidly, to walk up and strike one of them in the face. Thus far, I haven't heard any useful lessons from so-called community leaders and rabble-rousers regarding this. Instead, they seem to be justifying Mike Brown's behavior, while leaping to judgment against one appointed to deal with such miscreants. So here’s what I will ask them.

Is punching a police officer right or wrong? And when they seek to evade the question, I will answer it for them. It was wrong yesterday, it's wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow. If you errantly choose to strike a gun-packing police officer, know that you will likely wind up in a hospital bed, or worst yet in the county morgue. Don't do it. If a police officer orders you to put your hands in the air, on a wall or to get on the ground, if you value your own life, you best shut your mouth and do exactly what he or she says. Worry about what comes next later.

If you don't believe any of the above, then open your ears and hear wisdom. I speak from experience. When a police officer asks you a question, answer it, and then shut your mouth. If he or she orders you to do something, do it. The same applies to judges. Click here to see what happens when you get smart with a judge. The point is when dealing with local authorities; you need to show them the utmost respect. If you don't respect your own parents, or anyone else's, respect the police. If you don't respect yourself or anyone else, you had best respect a judge.

The bottom line:

We can’t bring Mike Brown back, but we can learn from the circumstances surrounding his death, and pass it on in hopes of saving the next life. If you don't want to be a statistic, don't commit strong-armed robbery, then punch a cop in the face and try to snatch his or her gun. Guilty or innocent, the first thing you do when confronted by the police is put your hands up. Stealing, looting and shoplifting are wrong. Threatening to cause, and/or causing bodily injury are wrong. Arson and destruction of property are wrong. Strong-armed robbery is wrong. Disobeying authorities is wrong. And, striking a police officer is a potentially fatal action. The Golden Rule should be applied in all matters. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

References:

Trayvon’s Fatal Mistake

Hope and Change on Ice

Paranoid LA Cops: Shoot first, use brain never.

Image via: Live Your Life - The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: Day 4

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Political Racism

Ending Identity Politics

Eradicating Identity Politics

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Those who say that Republican’s don’t like President Obama’s policies, solely because of the color of his skin, tend to forget that he’s also a member of the Democratic Party. In the United States, we basically have a two-party system comprised of Republicans (25%) and Democrats (31%). Even though the majority of us are independents (42%), who may at times be persuaded either way, we essentially have a two-party system with each side on opposite poles on just about every issue, foreign and domestic.

Generally, Republican voters stand for lower taxes, limited government, and a strong national defense; while Democratic voters slant towards higher taxes, an immense government, and a feeble defense. Both parties generally lean towards the preservation of individual liberties, except when it comes to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act and an assortment of overbearing government regulations, but overall one would be correct in concluding that Republican voters disapprove of the Democratic Party’s policies period.

When it comes to President Obama, and the majority of Republicans feelings toward him, once this forgotten variable (the fact that he’s a Democrat) is added to the mix, one would be correct in stating that Republican voters don’t like President Obama because he adheres to Democratic Party policies. Say this and you’ve got it right. Say anything else and you’re a moron. When we are honest, and free of the poison of identity politics, we know this is the truth, but conflating differences in political ideology with racism is so far from reality that it borders on absurdity.

Political Racism

In short, racism is the belief that one race is superior to another. Formally defined, racism is, “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” But is there such a thing as political racism? If so, let us clearly describe what it would look like.

First of all, each major political party is comprised of members of each and every race. So is it possible for White Republicans to believe their race superior to that of Black Democrats? No, but isn’t that what the hucksters are saying? If this were true, then wouldn’t White Republicans also have to believe themselves superior to Black Republicans, as well as to White Democrats? Assuming all of this was true, it would follow that Black Republicans must believe their race is superior to that of Black Democrats. Wait, isn’t this all just foolishness? Here’s a newsflash for you: White Republicans are not a race, neither are White Democrats, Black Republicans nor Black Democrats.

To have any validity whatsoever, such political racism would have to arise between members of the same political party. For example, if there were a Black male Democrat who believed in essentially the same things as, let’s say, a White female Democrat, and one chose to pull the race card in order to discredit and belittle the other, perhaps then you could make a case for racism. But to be viable, you must begin with members of the same political party, who agree 100% on everything, par for par, apples to apples, where the only difference between them is race. But even then, their disagreements may not be due to racism.

It may just be that only one member can hold the office up for grabs, and there are essentially no differences between them, other than race. Who do you vote for when this arises? Will it be that every time a Black candidate faces off against a White candidate, we must all goose step to the drumbeat of the Black candidate, regardless of his or her moral character, political affiliation or beliefs? Must the Black candidate win 100% to 0%, in order to dispel any allegation of racism? Following such an election, must the public then agree 100% with whatever policies the Black officeholder dictates, without question? Is this how we are to correct the racial injustices of centuries past?

Identity Politics

It turns out that what 21st century Democrats are slobbering about isn’t racism at all, but rather a form of identity politics. Through identity politics, social pressure is applied in an attempt to influence the majority to accept the beliefs or behavior of a minority. But, we should never confuse beliefs and behavior with race. I am a Black Conservative, and entitled to my own opinions. Thank you! If I don’t like your brand of politics, and your policies have negatively influenced my life, why in the world would you expect me to convert to your position?

What did you think would happen when the first Black President was spawned from the Democratic Party? Did you expect Republicans to change their ideology? Did you think a light would dawn in the minds of Republicans, wherein they would realize they had been wrong about low taxes, limited government, and a strong national defense, altogether? Did you expect the entire party to repent, and join ranks with the Democratic Party? Is that how you thought it was supposed to work?

Did all Democratic Party members suddenly drop their party allegiance and join ranks with Republicans when George W. Bush was elected to the presidency? No, they didn’t. Rather, they screamed, hollered, whined and protested constantly about almost everything the man did or said. So now that the shoe is on the other foot, the same bunch is crying racism. Those that didn’t bother to vote in the 2014 mid-term elections did us all a favor. They know better. Here’s another newsflash: Abstention is a vote.

Repealing Obamacare

It would not matter whether President Obama was White, Hispanic, Asian, straight, gay, male or female; Republicans would disagree with his, and the Democratic Party’s policies period. My personal feelings about Mr. Obama are thus: I despise the man and everything he stands for. I have nothing against his wife and children, and if he wasn’t the President, I wouldn’t have an opinion either way. In fact, before he ran for President, I kind of enjoyed hearing what he and his fellow left-wingers had to say. But my personal animosity towards him began on the day he started campaigning for the office. For me it’s not personal, it’s all about his brand and style of politics.

Here’s the crux: I don’t like anyone telling me I have to do something, or if I refuse I’m going to be punished. Here’s a prime example: “You have to join our religion, or else we’re going to cut your head off.” Well, come on and take your best shot. You see, it’s one thing to make improvements to our national health care system, which actually improve our health and lower costs, but entirely another when it boils down to the government commanding me to buy one of its prescribed insurance plans, or else I will be forced to pay a tax. Pardon my French, but eff that!

The fact is if Mr. Obama’s health insurance plans were so great, and so affordable, then no one would have to force me to buy one, I would happily do so. However, as things stand today, in my opinion, his plans suck, and I can’t afford either available combination of premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. But what sucks even more is this notion that the federal government will impose an additional tax on me, for not complying with Mr. Obama’s individual mandate. The employer mandate is equally bad for America. Both should be repealed.

Whether you got a better deal through the Affordable Care Act, or nothing changed, you should realize that thousands upon thousands of your fellow Americans got screwed. My life was already tough enough without the government threatening to take more out of my pocket than it already takes, under the guise of this misnamed piece of legislation. They should rename it the “Either You Will Buy One of the Health Insurance Plans We Prescribe, or Else Hand Over a Percentage of Your Income to the Government Act”. The concept of play or pay doesn’t mesh with the ideal of liberty in my book. I should have enough freedom to say, “No thank you”.

The bottom line: Those of us who have adopted Conservative-Republican ideals will likely never join ranks with Democrats, no matter the identity of the Democratic Party leader du jour. Democrats can nominate anyone of their choosing next time, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, mixed, feminist, gay or lesbian, Christian or Muslim, but it won’t alter Conservative-Republican political beliefs one iota. Masking unpopular and unjust political policies behind the aura of anyone’s personal identity is akin to identity theft. President Obama’s policies aren’t Black or White; they belong to the Democratic Party, and are thus mostly defective outside the realm of a classroom. It’s time we end this errant notion of identity politics, and resume arguing our ideological differences at face value.

Image Via: The Pittsfield Police Department

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Georgia's Laconic U.S. Senate Race

It's Perdue vs. Reid

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

On October 2nd, President Barack Obama correctly uttered, “I am not on the ballot this fall... But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” True, Obama is 'Not' on the ballot this fall, but he neglected to mention that his left-hand henchman, the one responsible for ramming through Obamacare without any Republican support, for killing more legislation passed by the people's house than any other Senate majority leader in U.S. history, and the second most divisive and hated man in American politics today, Harry Reid is.

Just yesterday, a client lamented to me that she and her husband's health insurance is going up by $1,000 a month next year, from around $526 per month to $1,526, and that they were in process of exploring other options. During the same conversation, she happened to mention that she wasn't sure who to vote for this fall, Michelle Nunn or David Perdue. She heard some things about Perdue that she's “not comfortable with”. I exclaimed, “You don't know who to vote for?” I'm going to share with you what I told her and how I really feel.

Basically, you've got David Perdue, a successful businessman, against Harry Reid. Reid may be cloaked under the guise of the daughter of retired politician Sam Nunn, but make no mistake about it, a vote for Michelle Nunn is a vote for Harry Reid, no more and no less. In fact, when asked whether she would vote to keep Mr. Reid in charge of the U.S. Senate, Michelle Nunn merely quoted a so-called joke she says a farmer told her: “If David Perdue wants to run against Harry Reid so much, why doesn’t he just move to Nevada?”

I didn't get the joke. The truth is that if I thought it would do any good, and if I could go back in time, I would move to Nevada myself, for the sole purpose of voting Harry Reid out of office. When Harry Reid ran for re-election in 2010, I felt powerless and utterly disgusted as I watched Nevadan's vote against their own, and America's interests. Whether Reid runs for re-election in 2016 is up in the air. Questions about the 74-year-old’s health, among other things, lead some knowledgeable insiders to speculate that he will retire rather than face a challenge in 2016.

Fortunately for us, Harry Reid is on the ballot this year. There are 36 U.S. Senate seats up for election in 2014, and Harry Reid's fate is on the line in each and every race. This is our chance. This is our moment. We finally have a shot at decapitating the second most hated SOB in American politics today, and we don't even have to leave home. It boils down to this. If you want to keep Harry Reid in power, then go ahead and cast your vote for Michelle Nunn (or the Harry Reid clone in your state).

But, if like me, you're sick and tired of partisan politics, and want to send a direct message of your disgust to Washington D.C., by delivering a pink slip directly to Harry Reid's desk, then it's real simple. Vote against the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate this fall, and vote for the Republican candidate. A vote for Michelle Nunn is a vote for Harry Reid, and a vote for David Perdue is a vote against Harry Reid. This year I'm voting against Harry Reid, and therefore in favor of David Perdue.