I read this morning about some proud black families getting arrested for the heinous crime of cheering for their children when they accepted their diplomas on stage.
Arrested. For cheering. For kids who worked hard in the country’s poorest state, and graduated, when 25% of their fellow Mississippi students do not.
It disgusts me. Just like it disgusted me when child welfare gets called about children having the audacity to walk home from school unaccompanied.
What the fuck is wrong with people today? You see something you disagree with, you call the cops?
Here in Canada, we’re fighting off Bill C-51, which looks altogether likely to be passed and implemented at this stage, and which seeks to criminalize dissent (and that’s just the beginning of its terrifying contents).
In the States, they’re battling oppressive police forces that are kitted out like the best of black ops teams are.
These uber-controlling authorities are the result of what we have created, demanded, and funded, and all of it really began at the municipal level.
It Wasn’t Always Like This
Once, we had fun as humans. We went to school and frolicked on playgrounds, fell down and got back up again, bleeding knees and all. We walked to school alone. We hooted when our friends collected diplomas. We partied and invited the whole block.
If this sounds like a “back in the good ol’ days things was good!” kinda old folk recollection, that’s because it is. I love the digital age and I don’t blame who we have become on the fact that we have computers. I blame them on a 24-hour news cycle owned by industries who benefit from us being uninformed, angry, and scared. I blame the “if it it bleeds, it leads” news landscape, and the commodification of fear.
What The Hell Did We Do?
Prison, it’s big business now. The industrial penal complex is part of a whole lot of jobs today. Has to be, when America has the world’s highest prison population per capita, nearly 5 times the world’s average.
Or maybe it’s just all the guns. Maybe once you’d go and shout down someone for being a dick, but nowadays you need to worry there’s a gun behind that dickheaded attitude. Open-carry is open-season on not trusting anyone and leading with fear.
The Chasm Between Left & Right
Whatever the case, somewhere along the lines, everything in our lives became the enemy. Used to be, when I was growing up, Liberals were the ones you wanted to hang out with because they were fun. They listened to great music, smoked pot, had mellow attitudes, and fought for social justice in a “everybody deserves it, man” kinda way.
Today’s leftie is so goddamned uptight that we have rubberized playgrounds, kids not allowed to walk to school alone for fear that evils will befall them all, and all those neurotic laws about food safety. They’re a large part why we basically live in a nanny state. It’s not all the Right’s doing.
Between the extremist religious right on the rise and the sphincter-clinching left, it’s no wonder we insist on bringing the authorities into every little disagreement. The chasm between is growing so wide that no rational conversation can bridge the gap anymore. What a jerk! Call the cops!
Even Consequences Are Extreme
When everything is a crime, it means our responses escalate accordingly across the board. It means unarmed kids get tazed for shoplifting, or shot. It means people get shamed and berated for the stupidest of offenses. Back in the day, you had to do something really offensive to get shunned in the media, on the level of Howard Cosell calling a football play and blurting “Look at that monkey run!”
Ironically, this is why I prefer public shaming for things like dudebros shouting “fuck her right in the pussy” and other subhuman behaviour. It’s time we clean up our own messes without always turning to cops. When we have clear unedited video, multiple witnesses, live feeds, then why do we worry about involving the law?
Sure, floggings in the town square weren’t exactly the most humane of recriminations, but getting outed on social media for being an ass, then losing a job, well, it’s not like anyone needs to call in the United Nations to investigate human rights violations here. It’s just good old-fashioned consequences being meted out by a society not willing to abide nasty behaviour.
The Justice Malfunction
There are those who cry out that the everyman ain’t worldly enough to know how to judge what’s right or wrong, and this is why we need the courts. Oh, and that approach has worked so well for us?
We’re ruder, less patient, more selfish, and more judgmental than we’ve ever been, because we expect the law to come and clean up every mess.
We get the world we’ve created for ourselves, folks.
I, for one, want to return to the good old days when we would call a spade a spade, see the arrest blotters in the newspapers, and pass judgment on our fellow man ourselves.
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way, People
All the Superintendent of that school had to do was say “Look, another outburst like that and we’ll stop the roll call.” Instead, the cops were called. For cheering.
I remember, in my youth, being naive enough to dream that we’d have a really free, amazing society when I grew up. I thought we had freedom of speech and new technology, ergo we’d have more freedom. I thought science was making us progressive, not getting us to cower in fear from an ever-darkening technocracy. I witnessed the rise of “community policing,” and I dared to dream it meant we’d care more for each other and feel more camaraderie, like a “Block Parent” system writ large.
Man, was I ever off-base. What a sorry place we’re in today.
When you have a problem with someone, tell them. Don’t inform authorities. When you dislike how someone lives/acts/expresses themselves, get over yourself, because they probably don’t like your ideas either. That’s what happens in civilization.
Next time you want to call the cops, ask yourself if a crime has been committed, if someone is hurt, or if maybe you’re just being a judgmental asshole. If it’s the latter, then put the phone down, extract your head from your ass, and let us all have a simpler day.