Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Viktor Frankl (March 26, 1905–September 2, 1997)
Whenever nations go to war there are two events which must take place immediately. The first is a purpose of right action. The leadership must convince its citizens that god is on their side and their actions against another state is for the good of all mankind. It is not about the theft of resources, (Iraq) or the advancement of ideology (Viet Nam). At least that is what we are told.
We must wage war to make the world safe from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Which if they ever existed would have been used in their own defense. When an individual or nation is down on its knees, they will use whatever resources they have available to defend themselves. Iraq did not use any weapons of mass destruction because they did not have them. To this day there is no evidence to prove that truth to be incorrect.
The second condition important in the selling of war is the dehumanization of the people you wish to attack and conquer. The leadership must be envisioned as corrupt and destructive or in denial of basic human rights. One of the humanizing reasons used to justify war by the United States against Afghanistan was the country’s refusal to provide education to female citizens. Why this was a concern of the United States where equal education for all does not exist, I do not know, but it was one of the reasons given.
The next step in the dehumanization of a nation or race is to address them with a derogatory name. Make them seem less than human by not recognizing their national identity. Indigenous Americans (Redskins), Chinese or Asians (Chinks), Germans (Krauts) Black American (Niggers). When identifying how many of the enemy are killed in a battle, the derogatory designation is always used to counteract any possible feelings of empathy for the loss of human lives. (100 Viet Kong were killed today. Not Vietnamese citizens). This act makes all those killed appear to be enemies of the state and does not include the innocent, the women and the children.
The President of the United States has taken the art of dehumanizing to a new level. In his attempts to dehumanize those who oppose or disagree with him or those with whom he is engaged in war, he never acknowledges their given title. (Senator Elizabeth Warren becomes Pocahontas etc.) The press must take some blame here too for they print Trumps abusive nicknames and perpetuate their usage via their repeated mention and publication. More people read the NY Times than listen to his speeches. Are you listening NY Times? Stop printing what he says just because he says it. You only feed his deranged insipid ego along with those who support his racism and cynicism.
Black Americans have had this issue with white Americans and the politicians and billionaires who run America for over four hundred years. We are dehumanized by the very nation and institutions we were instrumental in building. I would wager my life if it had been a white male jogging down the street (Ahmaud Arbery) or asking for air (Eric Garner and George Floyd) instead of Black males they would all be alive today. If Breonna Taylor had been a white female, she would not have been shot eight times by police entering unannounced into her home because the police had the wrong address. Racism is as rampant in America today as it was in 1619 when the first African slaves were sold.
Of course, my conjectures are all after the fact but unlike the lie George Bush told about the weapons of mass destruction there is no evidence nor history to prove me incorrect. America by its own actions support my claim. I loss class mates in Newark during the 1966 revolt against discrimination and racism. I watched Rodney King being beaten by white cops in Los Angeles (1991) on television. For a period of time I stopped reading the news because almost every single day a Black man, woman or child (Tamir Rice) was being killed by white police simply for being Black.
Being Black in America should not mean a white woman or anyone else can call the police on me for being in a public park watching birds (Christian Cooper) or for having a family barbecue at a public lakeside. I should not have to go through life always being on guard for how my person or actions are interpreted just because I am Black, but I am. Unfortunately I must be on guard when ever I return to America, Land of the Free. Yea, but only if you are a white American. Black Americans are still not free in that land.
Congress can pass all the laws demanding equal education, equal employment, equal rights and fair housing until it runs out of the toilet paper they are printed on because they have no greater value. America wipes its ass with those equality laws starting with the Thirteenth Amendment passed in 1865. Racism is so inherent in America, American society and its institutions, that when inflamed and emboldened by a man like Donald Trump white people want to take back what was never theirs in the first place from those who never had it and still do not. My hope for America has faded away. It is a war zone where Black Americans are being picked off one at a time.
My mother always told me I am equal to everyone else. I am not less than nor greater than anyone else, but equal to. Unfortunately America still sees me as a disposable slave rather than a bedrock of its foundation. America still sees me as less than human. I know this is how America sees me because I have been fighting that vision all of my seventy two years of life. I am flesh and bone. I have type O+ red blood running through my veins. I stand by and defend my vision of self. I will fight for that vision to be seen and to be accepted for who I am. Each time America knocks me down, I will get back up until you see and accept me as an equal or I will like so many of my brothers and sisters die in my attempt. I stand undiminished. I too am a brother. I too am a man. I too am human. America will never take those truths away from me. I promise Mom.