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Violence and Corruption



View From Here
By David Mark Greaves

The death of Jordan Neely on an F train caused by a chokehold administered by Daniel Perry, a person trained in deadly force by the U. S Marines, has been ruled a homicide, has rocked the city, and raised questions about Perry’s intentions and if his actions were justified. It is always unfair to “Monday Morning Quarterback” a decision made in the heat of the moment. And yet the question hangs in the air, did Perry react to a genuinely perceived deadly threat to himself and others, or was it a reaction to an adrenaline-fueled opportunity to use battlefield training on someone perceived as an “other?”

This propensity toward violence, whether against the homeless and mentally ill, in mass shootings, or with the storming of the Capitol, are markers along a continuum of violent white supremacist culture, making this a strange, unexpected, and dangerous time. Black Baby Boomers had thought we were approaching the mountaintop expecting to see the Promised Land, only to find ourselves at the edge of the Valley of Death, which is, to say the least, disheartening.
It feels all of one piece. From the killing of Neely to the corruption, dishonesty, and violence against the Constitution by justices of the Supreme Court, it is all a part of a hateful consciousness, which has always been a part of the nation and now expresses itself more and more.
It is a consciousness aided and abetted by hundreds of millions of dollars from billionaires driven by their addictions to money and power. We cannot allow their addiction, which is their mental illness, to continue to drive the direction of the nation.

In states across the country, money and energy are being spent working to remove the voice of the masses from power by making it difficult for Black, Brown, college students, and low-income people to vote. They suppress because voting is our great power. That is why Brooklynites need to come out and send support to those candidates that are truly on the frontline. Given the realities of the Electoral College, our vote here in Brooklyn, while critical to show our wishes, will not change the outcome of this election.

Biden won the popular vote by over seven million votes but won the electoral college by less than 45,000 votes across Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. This is why Trump is recorded saying, “I just need to find 11,780 votes,” to win Georgia. If he gets those votes next time, and some more in Arizona and Wisconsin, Trump could win in 2024, even if Biden gets ten million plus in the popular vote. If you are one of the new arrivals in the neighborhood from those three states, please call home.

I had a lesson in ethics when I co-owned a stationery store on the corner of Main Street and Broadway in Nyack, New York in the early eighties. I was working behind the counter, and a Deacon from an African American church purchased a small item and asked for a receipt. I said, “Surely no one would ever question you.” He responded, “There should be no question.” I can only wish that the ethics of members of the Supreme Court could rise to the level of that village Deacon.

Now deceased federal judge and Civil Rights advocate A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. once said Clarence Thomas’s self-hate was clinically observable, and now we know, from his acceptance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and favors from right-wing billionaire Harlan Crow, so is his corruption.
He fits well on a court packed with liars like Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom said precedent is sacred, particularly in a case like Roe v. Wade, and yet they overturned it the first chance they had. With their rulings encouraging voter suppression, they are working in tandem with white supremacist politicians who embody a corruption of the spirit that has permeated the nation, trying to sap the energy to resist. They work together, and so must we. We cannot let them win.