Saturday, January 26, 2019

Down the Rabbit Hole

I've been walking on the wild side intellectually of late. I don't know if some circuit has exploded in my brain or if I spend too much time in my head. Maybe I've camped out in a small town too long, crying in the wilderness. Or maybe I've just heard one too many people ranting at folks to "pray about it" and the great Oz will fix "his" time. I know there are no atheists in fox holes, but Black folks -- from what I can tell -- have been "prayin' about it" for a good long time and I've about decided that either there is no Heaven, their prayers are not getting there, or "God" is a White Supremacist, as my mentor, Bill Jones wrote in Is God a White Racist? back in 1973.

Whatever has placed me on this philosophical tightrope, I'm sitting here this morning like Alice teetering on the brink of Wonderland and as much as I'm trying to resist it, the Cheshire Cat's grin is drawing me like a moth to the flame, despite my fear of the Mad Hatter's cackle and the Queen of Heart's shriek.

So from time to time, for now at least, I'm going to publish thoughts that may or may not seem to fit this blog. I'll tuck them under the banner of "Down the Rabbit Hole." And while they may not seem on the surface to be about the socially-constructed, political notion of "race," they will all have to do with power relations and when I think about power, it doesn't take long for me to introduce race into the conversation.

Maybe it's dangerous for me to entertain these thoughts more than I have been already. Maybe it's a bad idea to make them public, spinning them out into the internet. But, for good or ill, we all unfold like butterflies or vampires (or both) to take our place in history -- or herstory, if you like -- and life is complicated. Or simple. Depending on how you look at it.

Wanna join me?

I've been mulling something over and I'm wondering if I've fallen down a rabbit hole or what. I'm wondering what the difference is between providing goods and services that are "illegal" and those that are "legal" to make a profit. We know The Power Elite or whatever you want to call them decides which will be which and we know they ultimately make a profit from both. We know that (probably) millions of individuals are caught up in the criminal "justice" system in the U.S. for dealing drugs, for example, while others are now becoming millionaires legally doing the same thing and those who build, run, and profit from the prison industrial complex are, as well. So what's the deal (pun intended)?

Or let's talk about "dirty money" or money that has "blood" on it. Is there a dollar bill on the planet that isn't dirty by now? If a man works for a company that produces video games made with material mined by child slaves, isn't his paycheck "dirty money?" And if he buys one of those games for his son, isn't he making that filthy industry even more profitable? When a social service program is given a federal grant, isn't that cash dripping with blood? When a single mother who is the victim of a system set up to keep her in abject poverty while the profit of her labor puts the CEO of the company she works for in a private plane, isn't the process of trying to feed her family every day draining the life out of her body with the same vicious callousness that might be demonstrated by a "criminal" who kills their victim or a pimp who sells girls' bodies? In fact, isn't it worse because in the case of the "criminal," there may be only one victim at a time, while in the case of the 1%, the victims are legion and for life?

Ratcheting up a level, what's the real difference between sending out an army to produce capital for investors in a government or doing the same thing for investors in a crime syndicate? What's the difference between a "President" who has people (even leaders of countries) killed because they got in his or her way or re-neged on a deal and a "gangster" who does the same thing? More to the point, who gets to decide the answer to that question and why do virtually all of us just accept whatever they say?

And do we really want to raise the issue of exploitation of the "innocent" when even the bees are fighting for their lives while watching "reality" shows about rich housewives is a thing? Is every human on the planet implicated in one way or another in this march to the gates of hell?

That'll get us started. I'm not asking for a friend. I'm asking for me.

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