The Tightening of the Electoral Belt

raceusWhen one has the strong impression about something which is contrary to “common” sense, or, at least, against the obvious choice of the majority, it is an uncomfortable sensation, indeed. As it is now, in this murder case of nine innocent people in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, imagine, just a few miles away.

The “deep South,” which may or may not include South Carolina, where I now live, is considered, due to its inheritance as part of  the “cotton belt,” to be like a pressure cooker always ready to explode, although in daily life I don’t experience it as a racist place. Sexist, yes, but not racist, should both things be related beyond the “ists”?  Okay, maybe I’m engaged in a kind of delusion here.

The sad truth is that human beings tend, one way or another, to exclude the different from their circle of preferences (not all the time, as in the case of a man and a woman, or the human race would be extinct), whether by gender, religion or skin color. The terrible side of this highly combustible behavior is the possible (and likely) political exploitation based on the tampering, not so much of the facts, but of the motives.

I believe that’s what’s happening. There are some things that, as a foreigner, I don’t understand that well, although in 10 years of intercultural marriage I must have amassed a certain amount of international knowledge. After all, ours is a much politicized home, frequently polarized.

The other day, for example, Alan said it would be good for my career to write about American politics, especially now, when election tensions begin to rise. Within a month or so the first presidential debate for 2016 will take place, this time limited to the myriad of candidates within the Republican Party, and I’ve been paying close attention, I have even enjoyed the same Fox News that I used to hate, back in 2008. Things change.

I made a joke, saying that this time I wouldn’t have that much fun (for those who do not know, I wrote a book in Portuguese about Obama’s first election, frankly in his favor, while Alan was always radically opposed), because, in principle, we agree on several things. Among them, the urgency to elect a Republican, it is unclear so far which one, as almost all have demonstrated more shortcomings than qualities; but to take the presidency from Democrats, especially if the party’s candidate ends up being Hillary, became such a priority, as, saved the proportions, to take the power from the corrupt Brazilian party, PT. Let’s hope we manage to avoid the same kind of consequences, because this world is so full of nonsense that it cannot bear more of it.

Back to the main subject of this chronicle, which I haven’t stated yet, perhaps out of hesitation: It is curious to note the tendency things have to prove themselves the opposite of what one would expect. For example: the country that elected Obama, the first black President, was much less prejudiced than the country today, daily faced with the race card being played left and right, what strange business is that?

The (bad) example comes from above. Michelle Obama, go figure, has been sharing with a college audience — the future of America — the pain inflicted by White House discrimination, according to her in “the form of an obligation to demonstrate to potential critics that she would know how to behave, even though she’s black” (free interpretation, since I don’t remember the exact words as heard on TV). Between you and I, I never heard that kind of criticism, and even if it happened, let’s say, unofficially, isn’t she the actual Lady of the House? Did not she and her husband achieve the maximum degree of power in the Western world, granted to them by the choice of the vast majority? (I mean, in the first election, when Obama was still the greatest “darling” of the media and the world, although he has lost this position today, by his own demerit.)

As matters count, it’s not important which prejudices might have hurt her. When Madame Obama takes a university stage to deliver a speech, she is not a simple black rights activist up there, but the all-powerful FLOTUS, living proof that this country as a whole has no prejudice against blacks, or am I going crazy?

The truth is, since Obama became President, the expected raise on black self-esteem (sorry, I’m not going to fall for the mandatory African-American label) did not occur, but rather the opposite. And more: Day after day the racist issue is being revalued, I would bet that some vested interests have worked silently to maintain it on top, I just don’t know which interests are these. Because if it’s a mere intrigue of the opposition — Republicans, conservatives, white elitists and the like —, Obama has been playing their game well, one more reason I’m so disappointed with him.  I consider a crime against humanity the rekindling of an evil flame that was almost wiped out, either through the manipulation of the herd, or the Government policy of explicit paternalism, a strategy that never worked. Anywhere.

What I do know is that this crisis is deepening, and the outbreaks of racist violence are spreading beyond the control of the police, now envisioned not as an instrument of public safety, but as the provocateur of violence. Due, among other facts, to the (probably) accidental death of the black boy in Baltimore a month, ago, maybe two, I lost count.

There’s so much to deal with that we lose the notion of consistency as well, I’m sorry the subject of this chronicle ended up so dry, being pushed down my throat by the last Wednesday murders.

It’s also curious that Obama has raised the issue of this crime having been facilitated by the easiness of owning a gun, just as the right to carry firearms is being highlighted by the conservative media and the candidates of their kind (or ilk, some would say). Frankly, it seems orchestrated. We, Brazilians, know very well that if a person has any malicious intent, the fact that guns are illegal is not going to prevent them from committing their crimes, or there would be no violence in Rio de Janeiro, for example.

In regard to the mass murderer’s choice to kill blacks, and not whites, nor yellows, we can make a few assumptions. None of them affecting the crucial reason, which is his psychotic status: only a mentally ill person goes out on the streets with a gun to kill several people, as has happened too many times in the United States, where this kind of massacres are almost a cultural practice, unfortunately. Now consider this violent — and violently unstable, I imagine — post-adolescent who is twenty-one years old, at least six of them, that is, since he was 15, being encouraged to hate black people by powers I do not wish to name. What could be the predictable result? That this is being used to make people feel as victims of a big racist event is a service to the killer, who was “planning” to start a civil war. We are helping him with this intent.

No, I don’t have the solution, but neither did I apply to be the President of this nation. And if this President who’s failed us all, even to defend his country from an old evil in behalf of which he managed to get elected — but that, at the time of his election, was more latent than real (it cannot hurt to repeat, himself being the living proof of that) —, then what would he be capable of? If he is in search of a legacy to call his own, what legacy will that be? A black President, that instead of unifying the nation was keen to split it, and then proceeded to feed the division? That, instead of providing a good example to his “brothers,” used his power to weaken them more? What bloody paradox is this?

The issue is too complex to be a chronicle theme. Yes, I recognize it. And while I waste my time writing, the powers in place, supported by a bloodthirsty media, took advantage of the climate of mourning to qualify the event as a “racist hate crime.” They repeat the attacked Church was an icon in the struggle for freedom (by an irony of fate, or not, the following Friday, two days after the murder, was the date of the liberation of slaves in the United States), that it was the site of a Martin Luther King speech, and so on. Another deplorable step towards a divided society, a sad end to a project of “change.”

Alan, on the other hand, got up early and went to the post office in order to renew his expired passport, preparing for the so-called “civil war.”

And before I forget, the fact that I consider the Charleston criminal mentally ill does not mean I believe he should profit from this excuse to get away with a penalty — that, by the way, will not be light: South Carolina has the death penalty, and they are considering to apply it.

Have a good Sunday!



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