Colin Kaepernick was born to a racially mixed couple, mother white and father, who abandoned them, black. He was then given up for adoption and adopted and raised by white parents, yet, he never forgot that half of his heritage was African and as he attained athletic success, he did not abandon that race, or forgive his other race, even if it had nurtured him.
In that, he is a much more positive symbol of the plight of Americans of African descent in the United States than are people like George Floyd, who represent the worst of their race but who are also products of the sociopolitical system that failed them and that fails us. A system premised on hypocrisy and greed and manipulation and lies, most of all by those who fraudulently claim the title of liberals and progressives but who are nothing more and nothing less than shills for the perpetual war movement some of us refer to as the Deep State, and for the Deep State’s two primary tools, the purportedly “mainstream” media (CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, the Washington Post, etc.) and the Democratic Party, the latter, a black hole that draws in well-meaning real progressives and traps them in endless cycles of lesser evils.
Another November approaches and with it, a new electoral cycle, and with the new electoral cycle, new paranoiac allusions to the existential need to check ethics outside the voting booth and, as in every election in which I’ve participated, exhortations not to vote in favor of what I believe but against something I must fear more than I value my principles. As always, I must vote in favor of an evil I am promised is lesser than the alternative but which always proves to be at least as bad. Think of the recent examples: the Clintons’ oxymoronic criminal justice and welfare reforms that destroyed a generation of African Americans (including George Floyd) and all too many Latinos; the Clinton-Obama-Biden destruction of Central America, Libya, Syria and even Western Europe, deluged in immigrating refugees and giving rise to more and more authoritarian regimes; the Clinton-Obama-Biden murder of tens of thousands of innocents through cowardly drone attacks; the Biden looting of the Ukraine; and, Obama’s abandonment of real healthcare reform in favor of medical-insurance-industry welfare, all sugar coated by a complicit press.
“But” we are assured, “there are no other choices”, then, when the absurdity of that claim is exposed, “Okay, no other ‘viable’ choices”, this despite a plethora of excellent third party and independent candidates only made inviable by the “mainstream” media’s conspiracy of silence which keeps any relevant information concerning them hidden from us. And way too many of us fall for that false siren’s song.
“Wolf!!!! Wolf!!!” they yell at us, now not just every four years but constantly, and despite our quickly, albeit untimely discovery that we have been fooled yet again, and again, and again and again and again, we keep falling for the behaviorist tactics and techniques that B. F Skinner bequeathed to our de facto masters and of which George Orwell so eloquently warned us. “Lesser evils, lesser evils, lesser evils” the hypnotic chant continues. “Joe Biden is a good guy, so what if he cheated his way through high school and college and law school, he was a great athlete and needed a bit of help from grateful classmates, a great athlete at least until it came time to face the draft in the Vietnam War” and anyway, “we all need to make a living and to help our families, so what if the credit card industry that taxes us with exorbitant interest rates and deprives us of bankruptcy protection thanks to Joe hired his baby boy Hunter and brother Jim at exorbitant salaries; so what if the corrupt Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings rewarded Hunter for the fine job his Dad did as the American proconsul, so what if Joe seems to be touched with dementia, it could happen to any of us!!!!” “Lesser evils, lesser evils, lesser evils” the hypnotic chant continues.
November, 2020, is a stone’s throw away and decent, loving human beings have been polarized more than at any time prior to the 1860’s, and many of us are aware how that turned out. Peace loving Americans are being urged by the heirs of Pulitzer and Hearst who brought us the Spanish American War to hate Russia and China and Syria and Iran and Venezuela, hopefully bringing us close enough to wars to require massive military industrial complex expenditures (so what if that deprives us of real healthcare, and education, and welfare and infrastructure) but hopefully not at the cost of too many American lives. “Lesser evils, lesser evils, lesser evils” the hypnotic chant continues.
What are the chances that enough of us will hear a finger snap and wake, realizing we’ve been had, that we’ve been manipulated, and that if we are to save our progeny, if not ourselves, we need to act, and that action requires that we start acting, even if victory is not imminent. That if we start, then as has occurred in so many other parts of the world subjected to lesser evil fairy tales, we too can overcome our inertia, lethargy and induced apathy and really throw the rascals out. What if instead of merely taking a knee, or engaging in counterproductive looting and arson and destruction of historical monuments, we vote our consciences. That’s not as radical a thought as we are led to believe.
The chances are not great, I admit it, but I for one insist on breaking my chains. Hopefully more and more of us will too, and perhaps someday, we will purge ourselves of the yoke with which the worst of us have had us tethered for as long as we can remember.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.