Between me and my people, there is distance.
Between me and my country, there is distance.
Between me and the structures that govern my country,
there is a stalemate.
The other night I was coming home very late, it was about two in the morning, maybe a little after. I had a really great post-performance high going on. I rode the long way home on the local A train, and to pass the time I let my music do the speaking. DeVotchKa, Virus by Bjork, Voice of The Moon, and expansion with Alice Coltrane. I guess you would say I was feeling some kind of wholeness; tired and inspired, a perfect moment to let it all go for a taste of freedom.
At this hour there is only four of us slowly climbing the stairs up from the platform, all of us brothers, all of us tired. Past the turnstile, headed for the final two flights up to Fulton Park to receive the evening air. At the base of these stairs, stands a Police Officer. One foot on the first step, up straight but leaning a bit on the railing. At this hour, it did give a feeling a safety. In my innocent desire to perpetuate this sense of utopia, as I approached him I decided I would make an acknowledgement of his presence. This gesture seemed appropriate, as there wasn’t much going on at this hour—I might as well have been walking through a quiet room— and his physical presence at the entry of the stairwell also made it seem awkward not to acknowledge two humans in passing. Not like when you’re on the elevator with one other soul, but more like when you open a door, and someone is on the other side attempting to exit. The close quarters all but command that some sort of communication transpire between the two of you attempting to enter and exit simultaneously. Something must transpire.
I walk by the officer, a mere foot of distance between us. I look directly at his now standard Military face. He is not expressionless, he looks annoyed, perturbed, angry, on the defense. And I get it, his work can be very dangerous… stay on guard. I still give a nod with a slight smile, and eek out some kind of hello or good evening. His face remained unchanged, he looked at me like death without surprise. A Military stare would have been more welcomed, at least that stare has a focus to it; a concentration to remain on guard. This look that I received had words, Don’t bother me, fucking faggot/civilian/annoyance/inconvenience. The good old days. Did they really exist? When Police Officers were the friend to all law abiding citizens? What is it with Military-style law enforcement? Was this Giuliani who did this, Ray Kelly and the notorious Stop and Frisk? Isn’t this a problem when the NYPD’s attitude and level of rudeness equals that of NYC MTA Bus Drivers? Do you as an Officer hate the public which you are here to serve?
Here is a conversation that I wish would reach beyond New York City. Ray Kelly is potentially headed to the Department of Homeland Security. Yes, Ray Kelly, the man who thinks a people must be Policed and Governed with force, might soon lead our governments private security force that is unbeholden to the articles and amendments of our constitution that would otherwise keep them in check. Ray Kelly and the DHS, the overseer—a moral inconsistency. This keeps Slaves from rising up in the field. Yes, I said it. Archetypal roles adopted in Colonialism still remain with us. The mighty Patriarch.
The problem with the Patriarchal role that democratic governments assume is that it exists at all. Secondly, its the paternalistic ideology that invades the reasoning of liberated people, whereby, individuals and groups in majority begin to think that in order to guarantee safety and liberty they must encroach on these qualities for those who they fear for whatever reason. It is a power structure that has always been detrimental to the proliferation of the founding principles of this nation—liberty, history proves, has been selective. In its unworthy existence paternalism creates the psychology and mentality that proliferates programs like Stop and Frisk, and in turn spreads top down. Officers make citizens their over-burden, and citizens see how some are treated differently, and in turn believe they do have reason to fear who the governing forces mark. Stop and Frisk is undeniably designed, yet its advocates insist that it has helped more than hurt, while the statistics are out that black and latino men are unfairly targeted, it is a debate?
Attention fellow Americans, it has come to your attention that the Liberties of some of your fellow Americans are at risk! Your’s are next. Don’t believe this? When black people screamed injustice about COINTELPRO, no one listened because they felt it was temporal in selectivity—giving permission to be at ease, believing in its legitimacy because it wasn’t a widespread program, justifying that no moral indignation had occurred, and the only reason they should seek out the consultation of God was in thanks for the (false) sense of safety. These same people, their children, and grandchildren are the ones shocked over the recent PRISM revelation, our government’s internet surveillance system.
Stop and Frisk must be killed before it becomes a nationwide program under the Department of Homeland Security. It must be ruled unconstitutional. And if you can say that Hey, I’m not a black or latino male, and the police look at me with as much disdain! You have to ask yourself when did this become the status quo (I just told you why).
The psychology and mentality should be of great concern, it spreads like wildfire. It must be hell for the officers who do not exhibit such barbarism. I think my experience(s) hurt even more, because the officer who I exchanged unpleasantries with was also a brother.
DeVotchKa – Viens Avec Moi (Rough Translation)
If you dream of beauty
And of endless days
Of raging torrents in the heart of the forrests
Come with me, come
No villains in sight
My only friends are God, the flowers and the wind
Come, come on the mountain
It’s so great up there