SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
The United States has the largest economic system in the world: one that was created long ago by the early Americans through the acquisition of land that did not belong to them and the multiple mass genocides of Native American and African people. Though we tend not to speak about those horrific periods in our history, it is within those times that America built this strong economic system the United States stands on. And although our wealth is constructed solely of colored people’s sweat and blood, it is the white supremacist government that still holds the power of the economic system and the majority of the wealth in the United States of America.
Those of you who keep up with such things will have noticed a growing consensus in the media: after 42 long, hard years, the war on drugs has failed. This rhetoric is attractive, but misleading. While the war on drugs has been undeniably costly, devastating society while doing little to genuinely address drug use or abuse, the narrative of failure does not address the primary reason the war was created in the first place.
The war on drugs was designed as a tool to win votes. It was never about drugs, but about the exploitation of racial resentment and fear for political power. As such, it has succeeded more than any other political scheme of the last half of the twentieth century.
Eric Schlosser’s hair-raising new book about actual and potential accidents with nuclear weapons, “Command and Control,” sharpens the dialogue, such as it is, between the anti-nuclear peace movement and nuclear strategists who maintain that these weapons still enhance the security of nations.
We can imagine a hypothetical moment somewhere in time. No one can say when exactly, but for my money it is definitely far in the past. Before that moment—perhaps it was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, or perhaps one of the terrifying incidents Schlosser describes, when computer glitches caused the Soviets or the Americans to misperceive that nuclear missiles had been launched—realists could argue that the deterrent effect of the balance of terror was preventing world war. After that moment, the more nuclear weapons, the more risk and insecurity for the planet as a whole and therefore for all nations whether they have the weapons or not.
Are we living in a time of inverted totalitarianism? Pulitzer prize-winning author Chris Hedges tells me we are in this first episode of the Moment of Clarity Show - SEASON TWO! This episode was made possible by Coalition Films and our generous Kickstarter supporters!
You have to think of the circumstances that exist in this world. For example, discrimination based on ethnicity, class level, income, etc. Do these not count? YOUR destiny is never in YOUR hands. It is in the hands of the system and society. Let us take a look at the Trayvon Martin case. A 17-year-old African American boy in Florida comes home from the corner store with a bag of skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea. What occurs? He gets shot by a white man (George Zimmerman). Zimmerman was found not guilty, for supposedly using self-defense. What was Martin doing to him? Nothing. Was that just? Did Trayvon Martin have control of his destiny? What if he was a white male? Would he still have gotten shot?
Obama spends his time speaking about the decisions people make for themselves, but it's also the government who plays a big role in the choices that people make. According to Barack Obama, "We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices... But one of the things you've learned over the last four years is that there's no longer any room for excuses... And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured - and overcame."
According to Obama, people can succeed due to self-responsibility. Obama says there is "no more room for excuses" and to stop blaming our hardships on our race. I disagree with Obama, because the system has just as much "fault" as the individual does. This system has put a lot of limitations on blacks, Latinos, and other immigrants. There is statistical evidence to prove that the system and society we live in does play a role and does influence our lives. There is proof to show that jobs do discriminate against different races.
People blame the government for all types of different problems. It's not the government's fault that a company laid off half their staff, or that someone broke their ankle while working, or if someone has to be on disability their entire life. Nor is it the government's fault that there are veterans that served this country that are homeless now, or in a mental hospital because of what they had to go through to keep this country "free." But wait. Is it? Is it the governments fault? Should they be blamed for all this? There's a desperate need for a change in government.
“We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices…But one of the things you’ve learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses...And whatever hardship you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardship previous generations endured- and overcame.” — Barack Obama
Many people have endured more hardship than others, and many have become successful people despite those hardships. Most people want to succeed, but they are let down by the way society treats them. The type of pressure that the government and society puts on young men and women makes it very difficult to succeed, but individuals should overcome these obstacles and prove society wrong.
Racial and economic inequalities are hardships in the United States. Some people in the United States feels that it is an individual choice for them to be where they are. They feel the individual is responsible for themselves and everything around them. If they do not have a job, that is on them. People like me feel it is society's fault that certain things are the way they are. How are people supposed to get a job if they do not really have a chance because of their ethnicity or personal background? Everyone should have an equal chance. My father was shot and in no way do I feel it was his fault. He was an innocent man walking down the street when some boys who were about twenty decided to start shooting at a forty year old man.