Friday, January 20, 2006

Davis: the blow by blow

While most of the audience received Davis's message enthusiastically, I found her speech rambling. She made her points clearly, but no theme emerged in my mind. The speech began with a passage from a Martin Luther King anti-Vietnam War speech from 1967 then moved through Hurricane Katrina, the Stanley "Tookie" Williams execution, a passing reference to the Clarence Ray Allen execution, the war in Iraq, back to Katrina, a passing reference to the firing of Greensboro Police Chief David Wray, poverty, the American culure of imprisonment, protecting the environment, the meaning of diversity, the riots in France and ended with calls for the revocation of the Patriot Act, the disbanding of the Department of Homeland Security and the impeachment of President Bush (that one drew a standing ovation.)

Now on to the deconstruction. All quotes attributed to Davis.


Davis concluded that the most important lesson learned from Katrina is that it revealed the process of the Bush Administration's racism. The accusation:

(Bush and others are) pretending that the removal of racist laws from the books was tantamount to eliminating racism.

(I'll not even try to speak for Bush, but when the flood waters first rose and thousands of New Orleanians became trapped, weren't the first rescues made by Louisiana sportsmen guiding their bass boats through the extremely dangerous water? Am I naive to believe that a lot of these men were not sportsmen of color? I don't know how you determine if our institutions are racist, but I do believe many hearts have changed during the last 40 to 50 years and this was as big a force as all the ugliness during Katrina.)


Racism wreaks more havoc on more black communities now than (in) the 1950s and the 1960s.

(I'll leave that one at that.)

Old style racism has not been put to rest...people are aware that it's important to hide it.

(Hasn't this been said all along?)


George Bush fails in:

understanding the right (of Iraqis) to fashion the future of their country.

(I guess the three elections of '05 validated US oppression.)

A culture has been destroyed.

(Maybe a great culture will be re-visited.)

Davis called the Bush-led US the:

greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

(I'd have been disappointed if she'd said otherwise.)


Davis correlated today's security concerns with the "imprisonment binge" of the '80s. She implied that Americans are under:

the impression that things like war and more police actually makes them safe.

(That depends on where the bad guys are and who they are victimizing.)

The culture of imprisonment has:

relegated people to the status of death.

(What about what many of them did to their victims?)


We rarely think of the fact that animals have just as much right to this planet as human beings.

(I'll take her word on that, I guess)

Correctly, Davis pointed out the problems created by the destruction of the wetlands around New Orleans. She went on to say the attitude that allowed it is related to racism and misogyny.


This was the man who was supposed to be appointed president.


I'll take nothing away from Davis's ability to inspire an audience. She still has a sharp mind and cuts an impressvie physical appearance. We should all hope to hold up us well.


Anonymous Brent said...

I agree with few things this lady has said. America would be better off if Bush were not such a control freak that he has to appoint his G. Gordon Liddy-like cronies to positions of importance rather than actual professionals.

The main thing I disagree with about her statements are the racism, etc. involved with Katrina. There is no racism there, at least none that's perceptible by the average reasonably thinking person. New Orleans was a city full of leaches on society. This "Chocolate City," Ray Nagin's words, not mine, had some of the highest public housing figures around. Many of its citizens lived below the poverty line. Not because they couldn't do better. Because they wouldn't do better.

There are countless stories, some in our own community, of people who took advantage of government assistance, relocated, got jobs and are living a good life now in a new home -- independently. There are also countless stories of people the government is still housing, who have not hit a lick at a snake in the months since Katrina. Hmmm, what's wrong with this picture?

They said on CNN tonight that New Orleans has a 17 percent unemployment rate, all while showing signs posted about help wanted, from permanent employees to day laborers. What's wrong with this picture?

I don't call this racism. The people who are claiming racism inherent in the system often hide behind the cloak of religion. Well, as the old saying goes, "the Lord helps those who help themselves."

I don't think I've made it a big secret that I'm not a Bush fan. But, on this matter, he's not the devil in disguise. Other matters, maybe.

And should MLK day speakers be using this platform to rail against politicians, war, the death penalty, etc? I think not. MLK's vision of America is not complete, nor will it ever be complete. Race relations are better. Last time I checked, it's pretty rare to see a mob of black protesters getting sprayed with fire hoses and attacked by police dogs. Last time I checked, we all use the same restrooms. Last time I checked, wages were pretty equal between the races. Don't tell me it's worse than in the 50's and 60's.

While I may agree with some of her comments for other reasons, I don't think she is speaking for the mainstream liberal who wants a free country where our internet search results will be protected and the government builds roads and bridges, not walls between nations.


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