Outrage is an emotion that must be used judiciously. The wanton flight to outrage denigrates reasoned discourse and cheapens its own power. Like many with strong convictions and passionate beliefs my trigger for outrage has become overly sensitive. My defense is a self-imposed delay before reacting. Oftentimes a reaction other than outrage emerges as a more effective alternative. Sometimes, however, outrage is wholly justified. Sometimes it is the only reasonable reaction. This is one of those times.
The Chief of Staff of the New Black Panther Party is urging the group to form its own military, first to lay siege to the Republican National Convention putting their “feet on the motherfucking necks” of white Republicans. The NBPP wants all black people to rise up “to drag whites out of their houses, skin them, hang them in trees, drag them behind trucks, and pour acid on them.” During the recorded call another New Black Panther Party member suggests firebombing hospital nurseries to ensure white babies never have the chance to grow up.
The shocking hate-filled, racist, violent scheming and threatening go on.
The threat should be taken seriously. This is after all the group that put – and maintains – a bounty for the killing of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, and the group claims to be stock-piling weapons and ammunition.
Anger and exhortations to violence have always been a mainstay of fringe hate groups, but a critical difference is the official reaction to such hate. The news media does not deem this a story. Our Vice President, Joe Biden, only just (in his best pandering diction) told an audience estimated to be about 50 percent black that Republicans “want to put y’all back in chains.” President Obama, who infamously refused to condemn the bounty on Zimmerman because he “didn’t have all the information” (something that did not stop him maligning the white cop in the Henry Louis Gates case), has since defended the Biden statement.
Looking past the New Black Panther Party is nothing new. Despite videotaped evidence of voter intimidation at Philadelphia polling places during the 2008 election, the Justice Department under Attorney General Holder dismissed any charges.
Meanwhile Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security is vigilant for domestic terrorists that fit a certain profile described by DHS as including “returning Vets, tea party participants, and” others who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority.” Of course we know now that those massive tea parties held across the country resulted in no recorded instances of violence or arrest. Conversely, the Occupy movement is responsible for nine deaths, millions of dollars in property damage, and dozens of rapes. That would be the same Occupy movement Homeland Security has deemed to be “peaceful activists” in a February 2012 announcement.
Yesterday’s shooting at the conservative Family Research Council went largely ignored. CNN waited nearly three hours before reporting it, a time mirrored by the wire services. Given the media’s breathless leaps to accuse (erroneously) right wing gun nuts in the Aurora, Colorado shooting, the Gabby Giffords assassination attempt, and the attack on Milwaukee Sikh’s, the disinterest in the FRC assault seems deliberate.
Outrage is appropriate amidst the growing sense that justice is not equally applied. One can blame this on a faceless “system” or the calculations of the Obama administration, it matters little. America needs to strive to be a land of “equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political,” said Thomas Jefferson during his first inauguration. Unquestionably that standard has rarely been met, even by Jefferson himself, however, that does nothing to diminish the merit of the ideal.
Before political affiliation, before religious loyalty, or racial solidarity, or anything else, Americans must love justice and equality before the law. Without that cornerstone the entire edifice of America will crumble. Each and every act that seemingly or actually weakens that cornerstone must be met with outrage. I will wear my outrage as a badge.