Saturday, July 23, 2005

O'Connor: I learned the most from Thurgood Marshall | San Jose Mercury News 7/23/05

MercuryNews.com 07/23/2005 Public has right to know about Roberts: "In one remarkable chapter of O'Connor's 2004 memoir, "The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice,'' she credited senior colleague Thurgood Marshall for sharing his experiences. "Although all of us come to the court with our own personal histories and experiences,'' she wrote, "Justice Marshall brought a special perspective. His was the eye of a lawyer who saw the deepest wounds in the social fabric and used the law to help heal them.'' She had "experienced gender discrimination enough,'' she said once. But until she worked with Marshall she had no "personal sense'' of being "a minority in a society that cared primarily for the majority.''" Damn. Now that's the kind of honesty the US (and Tennessee) need very, very badly in order to act positively - before it's too late. Black American author James Baldwin wrote about this reality 40 years ago in The Fire Next Time: " ... at the center of this dreadful storm, this vast confusion, stand the black people of this nation, who must now share the fate of a nation that has never accepted them, to which they were brought in chains. Well, if this is so, one has no choice but to do all in one's power to change that fate, and at no matter what risk."

12 Comments:

Blogger Brook said...

so many things jump out at me from this...
so astonishing, the honesty in confessing the lack of empathy prior to knowing thurgood.

it's hard to imagine not having empathy... we know it's all around us... but for someone to crack it open and say "i was deficient in the most basic element of humanity," and was a judge. holy crap. how many people did she totally FRY with the law before her conversion.

still, glad she had it.

and much more wonderfully -- what a giant Thurgood Marshall was to be able to transmit this kind of lesson to another person. it's one thing to be a decent person -- it's heroic when you shine some light.

and then the gender thing -- how easy it is for women not see their minority status. we are all such Marthas... Econowives... and Ofhims.

and the psychological mechanism of "slavery" -- the way you have to KNOW what that means to get the answer to the final riddle. it is slavery that is at issue currently. it might come in the form of war/prison abuse/ "terrorism"/social security... but we are looking at a new corporate state that is borrowing way too much rhetoric and heat from our national religious cult from colorado springs.

hey lisa... help me out here... how does slavery operate in JC, for instance?

Sunday, July 24, 2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Oh, shit, Brook...!! I can feel the love that’s gonna pour my way from this one. I think slavery's always operated throughout the Appalachians as wage-slavery, from the good ol' Eastman-style collusion with the local governments to get tax breaks while pollutin' the hell-FUCK out of everything in sight to just average everyman employers with no such political clout but who know a good deep pool of exploitable labor when they see it. The idea is, pay just a smidge more than starvation wages and toss the word "benefits" around like you're gonna offer some and the ignorant hillbillies will practically pay YOU to let them work for you. In the case of mining towns and company stores, they DID pay. Eastman came along, and a few of the other more "humane" places and for a while, they actually did offer reasonably good wages and benefits and something like a cradle to grave opportunity for workers who stuck with them, and everybody thought the whole region had died and gone to heaven, because nobody dared to question too closely, just why does this company want to come and bring all these wonderful jobs to bumfuck nowhere? (Hint: the answer, boys and girls, starts with “r…” See below.) But first, (back in the ‘30’s & ‘40’s) for the same reasons companies now want to send jobs overseas to third world countries: lack of interference from the local officials, & cheap eager docile pliant non-trouble-making labor. But later on, there're bigger plans. The environment’s eventually got to get a little hurt, & people can't be allowed to flourish too long in true wealth, either. Honeymoon’s over. That money's got to be concentrated over time into hands of the people who really deserve it, i.e. the people who know what to do with it, i.e. the people who keep making sure that Eastman will never pay city taxes or even county taxes for the county in which it resides, but instead will be taxed at the rate of the rural, undeveloped county next door. A fraction of what it should pay, in other words, to those whose air and water it uses and pollutes. And a lot of those “making-sure” people are the same people who are selling things that the worker bees need to buy, in order to live and work and make more little worker bees. Meanwhile, over time, real wages don't increase- the cost of living goes up; you get raises, you make more than your daddy did, but you can buy less with it. So they con people in, in the beginning, with what looks like a pretty good slice of pie- big pie, big plate, but they keep making the plates smaller, so it looks like the pie’s still taking up the whole plate, but if you could see the plate they started out with, you’d realize… this ain’t the same deal no more. Nobody ever gets to see those plates, though. Now your wife has to work whereas your momma didn't. Now they have two slaves where they used to just have one. And this shifts still more money into the hands of the “deserving/making sure” people. And to think, they used to not even have any worker bees/wage slaves. Thomas Jefferson had it figured we'd live more like Kalahari bushmen, work about 15 hours a week, and the rest of the time read the newspapers so we could keep an eye on the damn fools in DC. Now before any panties get wadded, I know Jefferson was an "aristo" who owned slaves and spent his share of time in Washington. He was a flawed man. I will still defend the right-headedness of his vision for this country over Alexander Hamilton's any day, if not necessarily his personal morality.

But why were these hapless hillbillies so self-respectless, so ripe for exploitation? What gave rise to this frame of mind? Why were they so eager away to throw the only things they had, their pristine environment, their free time? Why was trudging off to a factory suddenly so much more appealing than laying on a sagging porch all day with Ol’ Blue and jug of corn liquor? How much do you have to hate yourself, and how worthless do you have feel, to be willing to make such a trade-off? To understand it, you have to go farther back than most of us want to go.

My point about wage-slavery in the south is that- brace yourselves- the majority of self-sufficient farmers who fought on the confederate side in the civil war were NOT slave owners. The big plantation operations were about as welcome to them as Wal-Mart is to the mom-and-pops. Ergo, (sorry to burst the most sacred cow bubble in all propaganda history here) they were not fighting to protect the fucking institution of slavery. They were fighting to keep the damn federal government from becoming too powerful. And well, folks, it just looks like they might have been right. And before somebody out there comes back and says that means I think the stupid confederate flag ought to be flying somewhere or I support slavery, just go fuck yourself now. Let's go over this real slow so you can pay attention: THE GODDAMN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS TOO POWERFUL, AND IT STARTED WITH THE CIVIL WAR. And it continued with the economic rape known as reconstruction and that has institutionalized itself as the lowest standard of living in the country, 40 years after LBJ’s war on poverty and blah blah blah. It’s not that people here don’t work. It’s that jobs here don’t pay. That’s wage slavery, and there’s a reason for it, and that reason was the institutionalized ball-busting and back-breaking that the Fed did (that’s right, the now TOO-POWERFUL FED) as a systematic guarantee that the south would never “do it again.” Why did they have to be so sure the south never did it again? Because they hated slavery so much and they wanted all people to be free and equal? Sigh. Slavery is some rotten sorry bad shit in our history. But make no mistake; the war between the states was coming from the day the federalists found their asses with both hands, and it wasn’t about anybody’s personal liberty, it was about their wet dream of a more powerful central government than the one the Constitution had given them. And once they by god had it, they had to be sure no radical-minded southerners were ever gonna get smart enough, and Constitution-minded enough, to take it away- or try- again. And screw smart enough, they really just didn’t want them rich enough or powerful enough, so that’s why the primary thrust of reconstruction was economic. Did they really believe, 100 years down the line, the south was gonna try to re-institute slavery, if it had been allowed to go its way economically? Hell no. But did they believe that the south, with a viable war-horse economy, was gonna make another stab at states’ rights? You bet they did, and it scared them shitless. So into the bargain, just to make sure, they screwed the hell out of our education system, made sure we got dumbed-down enough not to even understand the Constitution anymore, and then proceeded to advertise us to the world as its biggest imbeciles and laughingstocks. So when Eastman came along we leapt off the porches and left Ol’ Blue and the clean mountain air and what little self-sufficiency we had managed to hang onto for…what? Entry onto the great consumer wheel, because we were soooo desperate to redeem something of what had been reamed from us. People whose families had never owned slaves were now looked upon as oppressors, people who were smart enough to support themselves on 15 hours a week were called shiftless and lazy, people whose speech patterns still bore traces of Elizabethan era Scots English were called hicks because of it, people who could recite Homer and Shakespeare from memory were called ignorant and uneducated, their indigenous music and dance were laughed at and mocked…Sound familiar? It’s called cultural shaming, and when it’s done to other groups, it’s a big ugly flaming un-PC deal, but you can still do it to hillbillies all day long and raise nary an eyebrow. It’s how slavery works around here, and come to think of it, it’s how species of it work all over. Back to you, Brook.

Sunday, July 24, 2005 4:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I'm not sure I follow all that as it is so hot to imagine you shouting "hell FUCK" in the first few lines that I kept loosing my place... rock on Elizabeth!

Sunday, July 24, 2005 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

thanks for the tag, lisa. *cultural shaming*--that's what i was looking for!

piss on their Koran. Send oinkoinkfuckpig limbaugh to iraq to peddle his orange "Club Gitmo" t shirts. Cultural Shame. Yes indeed.

One of the issues the court is going to deal with is "prisoner abuse." Our "slaveholders" want us to see it the way they see it: "soldiers gone wild." "innocent frat pranks." Don't be such whiners. There's nothing to see here.

But if yer "initiated" to slavery, the actions of the military/mercenaries makes perfect in sense if their intent is the manufacture of slaves. you heard it here first.

the only domain of "JUSTICE" that i care about is some manner of checks and balances on the passions of the people. these guys are appointed for life in order to dismantle factionalism -- so, show me justice that can't be bought. show me someone for whom religious dogma and capitalism aren't their only friends.

take a good hard look at the forms of abuse being used on the prisoners and their children. humiliation. photography. electric shock. wet-board drowning where the victim is made to believe they are going to die each time they are pushed under the water. don't you think there's a point where the victim HOPES they will die. don't you think there's a point where the victims jetison their "person-hood" -- it's called dissociation and it creates two things: slaves and warriors. more slaves than warriors.

the INTENT of the torture is to change the PSYCHOLOGY of a nation of free people to a nation of slaves.

and yet this doesn't seem to be their endgame. there's almost a sense of "pah! human rights! give us a break. this is a MAN's game, and by MEN we mean Cheney."

it's so totally like Dune -- on the march to inslave the whole freaking desert world. Every day brings a new dystopic movie comparison. Today it's Dune. Yesterday, Brazil. I thought of 12 Monkeys with the recent shooting in the London underground.


Just imagine how different our "timeline" would be if Jimmy Carter had not lost to an earlier swift boat election rigging campaign. They've been at this for long enough to be *crazytwisted* oinkoinkfuckpig motherfuckers. They've done their ground work. Kennedy. MLK. Watergate. Iran-Contra. The October Surprise. Gladio. 9-11. Think, the really bad guys in Alias. They've been mindfucking us for our whole lives. It's going to take another Kennedy, another Martin Luther King, another "revolution" for reality to get it's balance back.

O'Connor could not conceive of the mindset of slavery without the tutalege of a giant mentor. i'd like to know exactly what he said to her, but what of the judgements of would-be slaveholders -- ANY "bush nominee" by any other name.

switching gears, what about US. the readers, reality-based folk? is there anything we can do before we are rounded up?

nobleman > slave >>> ubermench

the nobleman and the slave operate in the same wavelength. they conform to the same set of rules. it takes an leap from the wheel... off the porch... an evolution to fight this one.

back to you lisa.

Monday, July 25, 2005 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Yes, please Elizabeth,,,, and type "fuck" in all caps some more!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 6:49:00 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I think, don't quote me on this, but evolutionary leaps are best brought on by NEED, as in evolve or die. This leap off the wheel, I suspect, is going to look pretty much like we always thought it would, as in HOMEBOY. The evolution has got to have a "revolution" in it before it can have time and space to expand and breath and get started. In one paradigm, the people who are going to be able to make the next evolutionary leap are the ones who are going to be able, when they come to round us up, to say, "Just ain't goin'," and, as I say, in the one paradigm, those people look awfully much like those "from my cold dead hands" types who have garnered enough armamentation around the house/bivouac/food stockpile to Ruby Ridge it out with the rounder-uppers. Thing is, those show-downs didn't auger real well for this strategy as an evolutionary leap forward; in fact, I'd say if you were wagering on it it might be pretty much an evolutionary dead end. So what's a poor Homeboy/girl to do? To whom are we to look, for inspiration, skills, survival modes to make this leap possible? How are we to fit ourselves to the nature of the grisley struggle?

Let's look first at how they'll come to round us all up. When you stop and think about it for a moment, they can't stick us all in Gitmo; it's just not practical. And besides, who's gonna work all the $7 an hour Wendy's and Merry Maids jobs for them if they do that? That would so suck for them that they'll never actually come and stick guns in our faces and carry us away; they'll just work an upgrade on the wage slavery thing. In fact, they've already done it: come Sept. there's no more Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there's just Chapter 13. 13 is now a real unlucky number once again, because here in the province of the moneylenders it means that- YOU STILL OWE ALL THAT MONEY, AND YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY IT ALL BACK. So in other words, you may be walking around, going to a job (or two or three), holding a bank account, buying groceries, picking your nose, visiting your mother-in-law, whatever, but in reality, you are LIVING IN VIRTUAL DEBTOR'S PRISON, maybe for the rest of your life, depending on how big your debt is. In a day where a living wage has practically ceased to exist for the historically largest number of families ever, and not coincidentally to the aggressive marketing of Bush-friendly banks' credit departments, the debt load of the average family is at a historic all-time high, too, NOW they choose to take bankruptcy away. THIS is the internment camp they have built for us. Much more efficient than have to build actual physical structures. It's just not a bricks-and-mortar world any more. Shit, that would cost THEM money.

Enter the evolutionary leaper, species Homeboy Geekus. The code wants to be free dammit, and vast amounts of money just wants to start bleeding inexplicably out of the wealthy troughs and into places where it can do some good...or at least just disappearing. Vast amounts of records could be just wiped away, never to be recovered. All of the pins pulled out, the whole beast rendered immobile. They should've never started with this voting machine crap, because with the right people galvanized, they're seriously out of their league. Yes, it sounds like science fiction- but we did start talking about evolutionary leaps, and I believe this is the future of off the wheel, even being the neo-ludite that I am. There is a certain, I don't know, Taoist flavor, almost, in using a wheel to get off the Wheel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 9:40:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

P.S. Sorry, Bill, that I didn't manage to use "FUCK" in all caps not even once in that whole thing...FUCK!! FUCK FUCK FUCK!!! FUCKITY FUCK FUCK!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 9:46:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

P.P.S. And if my answer wasn't clear to the question, "is there anything we can do before they round up all up," and if there's a slogan to be derived from the rant, it's

HACK YOUR WAY OUT OF DEBT

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 9:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Thanks Elizabeth,,, I think I need to take up smoking so I can have a cigarette now....

Thursday, July 28, 2005 7:37:00 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

We need to quit meeting like this Bill...not sure your lungs or my fingers can take much more...

Thursday, July 28, 2005 8:44:00 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 8:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I honestly wish I had something really snappy to say.

I will probably never ever get a straight line like that set up again.

best I can come up with is something like:

"Let's swap, you breath heavy and I will use my fingers..."

too crass????

Thursday, July 28, 2005 6:48:00 PM  

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