Power is coming home to a married biological mother and father.
Power is your parents making you breakfast before you go to school.
Power is leaving your children an inheritance.
Power is a college education.
Power is tenure.
Power is winning a Nobel Prize for physics.
Power is founding that new tech startup.
Power is being able to say “not hiring”.
Power is being able to reject that loan application.
Power is not needing to wear a suit to be taken seriously.
Power is not being deemed suspicious in a public place.
Power is having the media so saturated by your faces, and your eyes, and your hair that they become the universal standard of beauty.
Power is a phone call from the Governor to the District Attorney and Chief of Police saying, “Prepare for yourselves a sacrificial lamb, or it’ll be you.”
Power is a great many things.
Now that it’s no longer trending on Twitter, and we can all breathe again; now is the time I wish to write about Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice.
I have two questions for you. How many television networks existed in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of Lincoln Memorial? What was the world population in 1963?
There were three networks: NBC, CBS, and ABC, and there were 3 billion people on the Earth.
Jame Reston, a reporter for the New York Times said of King’s speech, that it “was better covered by television and the press than any event here since President Kennedy’s inauguration.”
Do you know what is the most re-tweeted tweet in Twitter History? You know how to use Google, right?
The time for protesting has come and gone
It’s not 1963 anymore. It’s a different world out there. There is much more competition and people care less.
Between your day job, and video games, and twerking, and celebrity gossip, and porn, and the latest smartphone, there isn’t much room left in the day for people to care all that much about institutionalized racism and inequality in the world, especially if it doesn’t affect them. “Institutionalized” is too big a word and “racism” sends people running.
You can go out and protest an injustice, but what does that actually accomplish in 2015? What does it accomplish when the powers that be know that all they have to do is out-wait you; until a shiny new gadget comes out, or someone’s ass get’s plastered all over your Facebook feed, or a terrorist sneezes?
Are the Wall Street bankers in jail? If not, then what was the point of Occupy Wall Street? To raise awareness? What is the benefit of raised awareness, if the people with the power to do something don’t care, and they feel no shame?
If your leaders cared, Hillary Clinton would have marched with you in Ferguson, or Senator Rand Paul would have joined you on the streets in New York. They would have given you a voice, they would have set the right narrative for you, and they would have given you protection.
What police officer in his right mind is going to fire tear gas at a US Senator, or a Clinton?
There are too many things competing for the national spotlight, and your leaders don’t care. The time for protesting has come and gone.
Martin Luther King Jr. is arguably the greatest orator in the history of the United States of America. How are you going to beat that?
King was a preacher – when being a preacher wasn’t about flying around in private jets – when the church was a respected institution in society. How are you going to beat that in 2015 when the church has lost all credibility with the neutral public? Is Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, or even TD Jakes able to replicate the influence of King? I think you know the answer to that.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the best orator in the history of the United States and he’s a martyr. You’re not going to do better than King.
Name a man alive today that can fill King’s shoes. You can’t? Neither can I. Yet, like King David, he was imperfect, and it’ll be 2027 before we get to listen to those FBI tapes.
We wouldn’t be where we are without him, but we cannot use the same old strategy to take our second leap forward. The time for marching has come and gone.
The protests of today are leaderless and unorganized, and thus look to the media for direction. Trust me when I say, the media will lead you right off the side of a cliff.
It’s time to power up
Find a leader. Someone to be your conscience and articulate your cause. Someone young, and someone who is reluctant for the job, but you know would be perfect for it.
Organize all those bodies so eager to protest, and rather go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Tell every black face that will be old enough to vote in the next state election to come. Bring TV cameras, and music, and hot dogs, and line up to get your ID card or driver’s license.
Start a Kickstarter campaign, and make sure a non-profit like the NAACP is in charge of the funds. I’ll donate $1000 dollars if a legit non-profit gets a Kickstarter going.
You have to be above reproach, you can’t even sneeze around that money, or all is lost.
Have one of these ID card get-togethers once a week, all 52 weeks of the year. Make the DMV a hang out spot with free food and music and games on the day of your choosing. Let local businesses in on it as sponsors.
Have a photo booth, where all the kids take group photos with their brand new state identification card.
What are all those IDs for? What else, but to bring to the voting booths on voting day. They passed those ID laws knowing that most of us don’t have IDs. If we all sign up for IDs, then that law doesn’t affect us.
During the next state election, get rid of the governors. Jay Nixon doesn’t get to be governor in Missouri anymore. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t get to be governor in New York anymore. Get rid of the mayors. Get rid of the Sheriff, if you have those, and get rid of whoever else could have used their political muscle but didn’t.
Make sure you have people positioned for you to vote in to take their spots. Take the state house, take the state senate. Get a fancy civil rights lawyer and draft a bill called the “Policeman Authority Act,” that mandates a full investigation and a trial for shooting an unarmed civilian.
You don’t even have to get that far, really, because once every last one of you get your IDs, the powers that be will take notice, and they will use their political muscle to make scapegoats out of anyone involved in these killings and their coverups.
Once you get your IDs, the police on the beat are going to stop shooting unarmed black men, because the Chief of Police will be up their ass, because the Governor and Mayor are up his.
This is going to happen because the Governor wants to keep his job, and so does the Mayor, and so does the Police Chief. As a result, the term “career suicide” will temporarily apply to any police officer that makes the lapse in judgement to kill an unarmed civilian.
Yet, you can’t accept these false peace offerings from the powers that be. Come election day, fire them, because if you don’t they’ll start shooting black people again.
I know fear plays a role in the exercise of police brutality, but when police are as afraid of going to jail as they are of black men, we’ll see some change. Even if you commit a crime, they’ll capture and subdue you alive and well just like Jared Laughner, just like James Holmes, and just like Timothy McVeigh.
Power is not
Power is not standing in the rain and marching in peaceful protest. That is dignity, and dignity has been done already, far better than you will ever replicate.
Dignity is the noble savage. Dignity is the last Mohican.
Dignity will never force people to share privileges that they pretend don’t exist. There was a time for dignity. Now is the time for power.
If we don’t power up, this will just be a repeat of Occupy Wall Street.