Fear not for tomorrow: Government surveillance and black helicopters

| July 11, 2013

Is it just me? Am I missing something?

I’m constantly beguiled but pleasantly amused by all the videos and post on the Internet predicting gloom and doom—particularly the ones by a “billionaire predicting financial ruin for America.” The others that get me are the ones about the “impending police state” that threatens American civil liberties.

Perhaps it’s a historical perspective that makes me shake my head and chuckle every time I see these dire warnings. For one thing, as a child of the ’60s and the child of a family with something of an activist bent (my grandfather was a Garvey-ite and my father and my aunt had similar leanings), it’s no news to some of us that the government has been spying on some of us for years. Can you say “Cointelpro?” If you’ve never seen or heard it, I suggest you look it up for yourself and see what J. Edgar’s boys’ role was in the civil rights movement. Or for that matter, check out declassified documents detailing the sabotage the U.S. government perpetrated upon Marcus Garvey using agents provocateur to damage the viability of the Black Star Line.

Check out the Gil Scott-Heron track “The Ghetto Code (Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash).” If you grew up black in America during a certain period of time, there was this assumption that the government was listening in on your every conversation. Hence, as Brother Gil explains, folks were inclined to speak in contextual language or other codes:

“Hey, bree-iz-other mee-iz-an, how you fee-iz-eel?” “Is everything all-ree-iz-all-right? Well, why don’t you, uh, why don’t you tell me about this pee-iz-arty to-nee-iz-ight? You goin’? Wee-iz-ell, why don’t you bring me a nee-iz-ickel bee-iz-ag?’ “Yeah, and if you get the stee-iz-o’ why don’t you bring some bee-iz-am-bee-iz-oo so I can ree-iz-oll those up. I appreciate it.”

If you have to ask, you’ve already missed the point. Oh well, I’ll say it anyway. A lot of us in this country have been aware of a police state since before the Dred Scott decision. A lot of us have dealt with a legacy of overt and covert surveillance since our ancestors have been here so, as they say, the news of an “impending” police state is old news. Yes, some of us will talk about it and mention it in our political posturing but, truth be told, in neighborhoods—or ’hoods, rather—life goes on in the shadow of that reality. In fact, life goes on in the shadow of a lot of realities that panic other folks and send them into paranoid frenzies of stockpiling weapons, food and spending money on goggles to detect black helicopters. No, I’m not laughing at folks who do that. Just saying to them, maybe you should talk to some of us. We’ve dealt with the monster that’s scaring you for some 400 years and we’ve survived—and even occasionally thrived. We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen when all that skullduggery served your interests. You  know the wiretapping, internment camps, genocide campaigns against the indigenous population (smallpox blankets—come on!), the illegal deportation of legitimate U.S. citizens, many born in the U.S., because they happened to be brown skinned (a shout out in honor of the late Brother Raymond Rodriguez who wrote about Herbert Hoover’s Mexican “repatriation movement” of the 1930s to keep “American jobs for real Americans.” But, it was all to protect the interests, as Hoover’s folks said, of “real Americans.” Someone might need to tell me what “real Americans” means.

Malcolm got himself in trouble by using the phrase “chickens coming home to roost.” Well, guess I just got myself and a whole lot of other folks in trouble because that’s how we see all this cracking down on “freedoms.” Many of you have advocated the spying upon of folks who look a bit different from you. Now, you’re crying the blues. Come on! Man up! We survived. You can’t be that weak. Stop crying about your “eroded freedoms” when you’re talking to an audience in which there are a lot of folks whose freedoms always have been eroded on these soils. Yes, folks fought to change that but life went on even in the shadow of that oppression. Folks kept going to work, hustling, having families and holding family reunions and going to church. Oh, that’s right. Some of you talked a good game on television and in your evangelistic thrust which you used thinking it would subdue us. Some of you folks even laughed at our elders when they said, “I’m not worried—I got Jesus.” You thought it was cute and that we had drunk the Kool-Aid. Truth is, Jesus taught us this:

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Life goes on and we learned that lesson well. We also learned that no earthly power formed against us would prevail in the end and we survived the Maafa. Yes, we’ve got issues, largely internal these days, but we will survive those—perhaps only as a remnant as the books of prophecy indicate but we will survive. What’s a little “surveillance” compared to what we’ve already seen? Talk to us. We’ll teach you it ain’t no big thang! But, I want to ask you, didn’t folks you elected start all this stuff in the first place? Despite your loud protest to the contrary, the nation’s trouble did not start with Obama. Don’t believe me? Will you believe Merle Haggard who had this to say in a 2012 interview with CNN:

 “I don’t think it makes much difference who the president is. I think there was a big ball rolling before he came into the picture. He kind of did what I do. I didn’t do anything. He hasn’t done anything that I can see that’s made any real difference. I think he is a fine gentleman, and they treated us real well when we were up there at the Kennedy Center…, and I am not going to badmouth him. I think he has the next four years wrapped up. He has done some good. He got Osama bin Laden. That is a real big plus.

“Now on the home front, it is kind of fiddling while Rome burns. We are in trouble economically. I don’t think we can blame it all on one black man. I think we spent 50 years getting ourselves in trouble, and it may take a long time to get ourselves out of it. It is going to take more years than I got left.”

Okay, so now I’m really rambling but let me talk about one more thing:

As for those videos about our economic ruin, most of us are one paycheck away from poverty, as they say, so we really don’t have that far to fall—certainly not out of Wall Street windows—so why are you fretting? Has it ever dawned on you that the folks paying for those videos want to make money off your desperation and fear to secure THEIR economic well-being? Most folks in this country have always been in the ranks of the working poor and they’ve made it. Interesting that a “Christian” nation routinely assigns more power and influence to politicians, business people and economists than it does to GOD.  Once again laugh but, “We got Jesus,” and, despite the odds, we have survived:

“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor  spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”—Matthew 6:23

Oh ye of little faith!

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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