FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

We Can’t Get Along

by MISSY BEATTIE

I awoke this morning feeling like a shit sandwich without the bread. And then, “Oh, Grandma Fletcher, I’m 64 today.” I lay in bed, thinking, thinking, thinking—knowing the additional year couldn’t be the problem. It’s just one day after being 63. The acquittal of George Zimmerman was on my mind.

I got out of bed and made the coffee extra strong. Checked email and then tied the laces of my running shoes.

Along the route, I imagined Anish, a reader who sends messages that are exactly what I need to read at exactly the right time, exacting me to become a better person. He sees my flaws, the conflicts, and encourages my evolution.

Often, Anish closes with, “Peace and bliss”, or “Stay blissful”.

Today will be blissful. I said it aloud. But I thought of Trayvon Martin. Especially when I passed a young black man. Actually, each time I passed a black person.

I’d watched a CNN interview—Anderson Cooper’s questions for one of George Zimmerman’s jurors (B37). She’d said there was no discussion of racism. She demeaned Rachel Jeantel’s testimony, saying that Jeantel was embarrassed to be there. That she felt sadness for Trayvon Martin’s friend because of her education and lack of communication skills. That Jeantel was using phrases she’d never heard and didn’t understand. When Cooper asked about Trayvon’s calling Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker,” juror B37 said she didn’t interpret this as racial but as the “way they talk. I think it’s just everyday life, the type of life that they live and how they’re living.” And she presented Zimmerman’s account—why he felt threatened by Trayvon. That Trayvon was acting strangely. This suspicious behavior included, “Because he [Trayvon] was cutting through the back. It was raining.” As if these reasons provoked the violence that ensued. And this: “I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place…” These are chilling words. The man whose heart was in the right place shot Trayvon Martin in the heart. “But he [Zimmerman] wanted to do good. I think he had good in his heart, he just went overboard.”

Clearly juror B37 exposed her bias. She identified with George Zimmerman. Felt no connection to the man who was stalked, Trayvon Martin, separated as she is by white privilege, white attitude. She tried Trayvon, not George Zimmerman.

I continued this thinking and more when I returned home. That behind this massively rooted tree of tragedy, a forest is obscured. Yet overlaps. The targeting of Trayvon Martin is not unlike US drone warfare, the observation of someone who may or may not be dangerous, but who’s presumed menacing because of group prejudices. Because he wears a hoodie, a kufi or turban, his skin color, age. And “her communication skills… She was using phrases I have never heard before…. the way they talk…” These are the separations that justify a preemptive strike, without regard for truth, for life, empathy, for humanity.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder condemned Stand Your Ground laws, saying they “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense” and may “encourage violent situations to escalate.” Yet last year, Holder gave a speech during which he said that secret executive branch reviews of classified evidence count as due process and that the government can kill Americans without clear evidence. Isn’t extrajudicial killing similar to Stand Your Ground measures?

On my birthday, I had a little party, made dinner for family and new friends. We talked about the trial, shaking our heads as we compared Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till and Rodney King, wondering, wondering, as King did, “People, I just want to say, can’t we all get along?”

The answer is no. As long as Stand Your Ground laws are on the books, we cannot get along. As long as our government condones targeted assassinations against American citizens, we can’t get along. In fact, droning and waging war require that the answer is no, because they senselessly expand the concept of self-defense, may encourage the escalation of violent situations, and are immoral, period. Just like Stand Your Ground, they are inconsonant with rapprochement.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 29, 2017
Dave Lindorff
Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies About Alleged Assad Sarin ‘Attack’
Chuck Collins
What Happened to America’s Wealth? The Rich Hid It
Rev. William Alberts
When the Bible is the Root of Evil
Jeff Mackler
Trumps ‘No Fly Zone’ Escalates U.S. War Against Syria
Bill Willers
The Next World War Won’t Just Be “Over There” 
Ellen Brown
Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style
Jack Laun
Will There Finally be Peace With Justice in Colombia?
Binoy Kampmark
Holding the Police to Account in the UK
David Swanson
Against Ignoring the KKK
Rima Najjar
Israel’s Illegitimate Tactics Against Palestinian Armed Resistance vs. Legitimate Global Security Concerns
Mel Gurtov
Advise, Assist, Arm: The United States at War
David Welsh
Berkeley Capitulates to Police Militarization and Spying
Marion Andrew
Not Being Considerate of One’s Audience: US Television’s Coverage of Olympic and International Sports
June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail