On Ferguson and the American Dream
Over the last week the American people have bore witness to the events that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of Michael Brown. Shot by local police officer Darren Wilson six times, twice in the head, Michael Brown has become symbolic of far deeper problems in United States society. Through this tragedy we see for the first time in over 50 years the true state of our nation. This face is not the same as the one we put on for the world; in Ferguson there is no justice, there is no equality, there is no freedom. This environment of injustice is not the fault of the community nor is it the fault of the local and state politicians. It is the fault of the American people.
The injustices perpitrated in this country are inhibited by the inaction of its citizens. We have for far to long settled for inaction in the United States of America. We have become complacent with the acheivments of the civil rights movements of the past, we have sat by while our local police departments have become increasing militarized, we have watched as the integrity of news and journalism has eroded. We have become detached from the realities that we are forced to face today as a result of the event unfolding in Ferguson, MO.
The past week has seen the use of strong arm tactic by local and state law enforcement to break up peaceful assemblies. Make no mistake about it these are the same tactics we have seen happen across the world in places like Egypt and China. These tactic are meant to break the will of the people, to create fear where there is fearlessness. Police have indiscriminately fired rubber bullets, smoke and tear gas in to crowds of peaceful protesters. All against civilains simply looking for answers and justice where it is undoubtedly due. The police have armed themselves with weaponry that rivals, and by some accounts surpasses, that of the military personel fighting overseas. This is not the America we are used to looking out our windows and seeing but it is quickly becoming the America we live in. We cannot sit idly by as the rights and dignity of our fellow citizens is slowly but surely eroded.
The United States press and media has a duty to the people to accurately and effectively portray the event unfolding in Ferguson and the dialouge that must occur in its wake. We have seen numerous journalists on the field in Ferguson threatened, arrested and even fired upon with tear gas as they try to report and inform the public. This cannot stand unaddressed; there is a fundamental right garunteed to the press. They must be free from a overreaching state that may attempt to silence their voice. Make no mistake about it their voice is often the echo of our own. Attempts to silence them are attempts to silence the public; they are our voice on the field and their rights and safety must be protected.
There comes a time when the public must stand up, come together and demand change; that time is now. What we have seen in Ferguson this past week is an assualt on some of the fundmental aspects from which our nation was born; our freedom of assembly, of press and of the right of every citizen to equality in life and in the pursuit of justice. The United States of America has always derived its greatness from its people. We as a nation have shown time and time again that we will not stand for injustice, rather we will stand together to fight it; this is again one of those times. History is written not by professor or authors, its is written by the people who were a part of it. We must not let death Michael Brown go unwritten in the history of this country. This is the catalyst for a renewed discussion on the problems that ail our society and its people; race, poverty, the police state, the list goes on. We must no longer settle for indifference as countless Americans live in poverty, in fear of the police; this is not freedom, this is not equality. This is a call on the American people to return this country to greatness, to walk together in solidarity and remember the words of John F. Kennedy that “[America] was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”