Inexcusable silence in the face of police brutality

I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are quite a few good and decent and blazingly courageous members of law enforcement. In fact, it was members of the NYPD that saved my life when I was held up and shot in the head in 1984. Nevertheless, facts are facts.  From Oakland to NYC to Seattle and back there have been and continue to be glaring examples of police brutality inflicted on non-violent protesters who are doing nothing more than exercising the rights our constitution gives them, not to mention drawing attention to the fact the freedom that is supposed to come with being a citizen of the United States of America is slowly but surely disappearing.  Not to mention the fact that the 1% are running the show and are clearly behind the violent response.

And much of the mainstream media is in bed with the 1% because the mainstream media is owned and operated by the 1%. Close to 30,000 New Yorkers marched in NYC the other night. Try finding that in mainstream media. You’re living on another planet of you think the majority of the mainstream media isn’t as invested or nearly as invested in squashing the Occupy Movement as big business and Washington (but I repeat myself) is.

When you see American veterans being physically assaulted by law enforcement, there is silence from the White House and Congressional leaders. When you see 84-year-old women like Dorli Rainey drenched in pepper spray there is silence from the White House and Congressional leaders. When you see non-violent protesters being beaten, doused with pepper spray, punched, trampled by those members of society who are supposed to protect them, the silence of our country’s so-called leaders is deafening in its support for the ongoing brutality.

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Dorli Rainey after being doused by pepper spray by Seattle PD on Nov. 15 2011

The current silence of those in Washington as well as the silence of so many leaders in states and cities across the country when it comes to the violence being inflicted on non-violent protesters is no different than those who remained silent when Alabama’s governor George Wallace and Georgia’s governor Lestor Maddox waved the banner of racism; it is no different than those who remained silent when Birmingham Alabama’s Bull Connor turned fire hoses and police dogs loose on non-violent protesters including children.

As Dante Alighieri said: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” Many of our nation’s leaders are booking rooms in  hell as we speak.

Reflections of an Advocate, September 17, 2010

Bigotry is inhumane.

For as long as far back as memory allows me I have always found it troubling when people were being treated inhumanely. This may explain why two of my childhood heroes were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Geronimo. They still are heroes of mine. The hero list for me has grown since then. It now includes Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Frederick Douglass, Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, Father Mychal Judge and others.

Anyway, today’s reflections revolve around those moments all advocates face when you simply can’t believe the challenge you are facing is even there in the first place. For example, it boggles my mind that there is even a question about making sure polling sites are accessible to all. There is even a cluster of numbnuts who call themselves, I swear to God, the Lever Lovers. They seem to think  voting machines with levers are the only way to go, too damned bad if you are paralyzed. Boggles the mind, at least it does mine.

And then there were two moments this morning that boggled my mind in similar fashion.

First, I left a voice mail for Timothy J. Feeney asking why his company’s voice mail (call them yourself) has, for some time now, said they are under contract with the Department of Health whey they’re not and did he intend to continue to misrepresent his credentials to adults and children with disabilities.

Second, an email was sent to Maria Dibble, executive director of STIC (Southern Tier Independence Center) in Binghamton, NY, again asking her to explain why STIC, which is likely to be under contract with the New York State Department of Health for the Neurobehavioral Resource Project, plans to give the work to someone like Feeney.

There was a moment when I sat back, took a sip of my coffee, and shook my head. It struck me as somewhat unbelievable that any of us have to deal with someone prancing around pretending to have degrees they don’t have much less ask questions of a provider like STIC, that apart from this situation has a good reputation, why they plan to give work to the prancing ninny.

But, when I find myself shaking my head over perplexing challenges like these, I remind myself of the days people were made to ride in the back of the bus or drink and eat in specific locations because of the color of their skin. That was pretty unbelievable too.

So, the bad news? Bigotry marches on. Only bigotry would allow someone to think it is okay to be or to hire someone who is misleading an entire population of people.  The good news? Advocacy, including this advocate, marches on as well. I like my role models: King, Geronimo, Height, Mandela, Gandhi, Douglass, Wiesel.  Who might the role models for the bigots be? Maybe the likes of Bull Connor, Lester Maddox, David Duke, George Lincoln Rockwell, Adolf Hitler.

I like my role models better.

Threats of Violence, Palin & Republican Silence

The vicious threats of an acts of violence and the silence of the nation’s Republican leaders reminds me of the kind of hatred seen in the racism perpetrated by the likes of Sheriff Bull Connor, Lester Maddox and George Wallace in the 1950s and 1960s. A time when guns, dogs and firehouse were loosed on protesters, including children.

The dangerous and poisonous Sarah Palin has urged her followers to “reload” and has issued a map with 20 gun sights for each of the Democrats targeted this year by her political action committee. I’m waiting for her to urge her followers to don white sheets.

In addition to this, members of congress have received death threats because they voted for health care reform. Some are seen on posters with the image if gun sight crosshairs over their faces.  While some members of congress are receiving extra protection Republican congressional leadership has remained silent, rather than urging their followers to calm down and handle things like, well, a democracy. Their silence is support for the violent behavior and threat of violent behavior.

The good Republicans in this country and all Americans should be horrified by this behavior. Palin should be criminally charged with incitement to riot.

I would bet that a thorough investigation of these activities would likely find big business in the person of health insurance companies and others doing the driving.

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