Michael Brown’s remains have been interred. With him go any pretense that racism in America is past us. Any sense that electing a Black President put a four century old record of slavery, segregation, lynching and racism behind us is blasphemy. Michael Brown was shot dead while unarmed and holding his hands over his head by a racist Ferguson, Missouri cop. He was summarily executed for walking while Black in the middle of a street. Unfortunately there have been hundreds of Michael Browns and dozens of Fergusons in America. This particular one set off an entire community and ignited a sense of outrage among African-Americans tired of being targets of over militarized, racist police.
It has also revealed the depth of racism in America’s right wing. The cop who committed the murder has been the recipient of $250,000 contributed by white racists who think he did the right thing. Fox News went so far as to broadcast a fake story trying to raise sympathy for the man and excuse his actions. The Ferguson Police Department released a partial video purportedly showing Brown shoplifting cigars. Watching the entire, unedited video shows him paying for the items.
Such is America post-Ferguson: a nation awash in unmitigated racism and a right wing unashamed in illustrating its racial hatred. Right wing media has fanned the flames and cops stating virulently racist things in videos gone viral have fueled weeks of protests by Blacks in the suburban St. Louis town.
Ferguson is a predominantly African-American town ruled by white racists. Because only 12% of its residents turned out to vote in the last Mayoral election it has a racist Administration and police department. Our silence at the polls translates to the type of community in which we reside. When a Black American, a poor American, a Union card carrying American doesn’t vote they have no voice. They have no rights to a representative government truly seeing to their needs and protecting their rights.
The Michael Browns of Ferguson dug their own graves by neglecting to vote, by deciding not to participate in the system. This is what they get in return and no amount of looting, protests or cries of anguish and remorse will atone for their sin of not voting. Democracy is a wonderful thing: we get what we deserve and we deserve what we get, When we opt not to vote we then cannot turn around and complain at the outcome. Ferguson is simply the latest example.