Ferguson: Snatching Power From the Jaws of Injustice

There is a moment when the foundation of things as they are cracks, when the dam leaks its fatal, irreversible drop, when the tectonic plates shift enough to do more than rattle the shelves. It is the moment when the past finally arrives and collides with the future, announcing itself like the proverbial bell that shatters as it rings. Ferguson is such a moment.

There is no going back from this moment. It is the last in a long line of unbearable betrayals against the African American community and our country’s principles that cannot, must not, go unanswered. Peaceful protests have their place, but so does defiance. And as much as I believe in the power of non-violent marching and the like, I fear they will not be enough this time. They have proven themselves ineffective. Think back to beginning of the Iraq War when four-and-half million people, more than in the entire history of humankind, demonstrated around the world to protest an illegal invasion of an unarmed country based on lies. Did it stop them? Did it even slow them? Not one bit.

The problem is that the Power Elite doesn’t care what we think anymore. Their control is absolute and their power so elevated as to be beyond our ability to threaten them. Back in the bad old days of Richard Nixon they still feared public opinion. That is why the Nixon administration passed OSHA, The Clean Water Act, The Endangered Species Act and established the EPA. Nixon may have hated the People, and god knows he didn’t respect us, but at least he feared us. And the threat of our retribution at the polls was enough to keep him in check.

No such check on power exists today. Our liberal class is dismantled, our elections are rigged, our votes redistricted to the point of absurdity, and our focus is so scattered by propaganda and infotainment that we are deaf, dumb, blind and nearly helpless to protest the abuses of power.

But then there is a moment. This moment. Mike Brown’s sacrificial moment. Let me be clear — we would all much, much prefer Michael was alive, but his death will mean nothing if we cannot convert his injustice into a moment when Power feels his pain. I am not suggesting that we take up arms or channel our rage into violence if for no other reason than this is a battle we will lose and lose badly. They have more guns, more soldiers, more money and almost all of the control.

And yet, we must devise a way to impact Power. If they will not respect us, then they must learn again to fear us. We must find a way to make them feel that that this is a defining moment not only for the African American community, but for all Americans who love Justice. We must demonstrate Our Power out in the open, across all communities, across an entire nation, in a radical eruption of our refusal to be controlled, manipulated, set up and knocked down as if we no longer matter. We matter. They don’t agree. We must show them why they are wrong.

Maybe it is a massive hunger strike, a national work strike, the occupation of police department steps across the country, I don’t know. There are people better qualified than myself to devise these kinds of strategies. Whatever it is, however, I do feel qualified to state the demand, because it is clear and eminently reasonable — we want a trial. Michael Brown and his family deserve that much. And we want it right now, in this moment, his moment, our moment, in which We The People hold the American System of Justice in our own hands again — in the name of a young life cut tragically short by the abuse of power, and in celebration of citizenry ready to reclaim their own.