Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
April 10, 2015
Mr. President: The story making the most headlines has been a bystander-recorded
graphic shooting of an unarmed black man by police. Stopped for a broken tail light,
he ran from the car. The footage shows him talking to an officer, then he turns and
runs. Less a sprint than a waddle, the heavy 50-year old could have been run down
by the officer in a few short strides; instead, he pulls out his gun and fires eight
shots. Why did he?
Why did the man run? What was he afraid of, or, what was he hiding? What was the
conversation about? The officer claims he was afraid of his life. He is then seen
walking back to the spot where he was first observed talking to the man, picking up a
black object from the ground, walking back and placing it near the right hand of the
now still man. The officer is white. Another officer, this time black, arrives, turns over
the body. No one renders any emergency aid. It must have been too late.
One's natural sympathy is drawn to the black man and his family despite his record of
arrests. No one deserves to pay the ultimate price for a broken tail light. Yet one
must also have sympathy for the young officer's family, notwithstanding his faulty
judgment and his reprehensible attempt to hide the truth by manufacturing evidence
justifying his action.
He has been charged with murder, although quite probably nothing would have
happened to him if his actions had not been recorded. That is the unfortunate truth
and it is why some police officers act with impunity. One absolute certainty: the
police are being increasingly militarized with emphasis on weaponry and swat teams.
They ought to be members of the community building bonds instead of being
alienated from the public in far too many neighborhoods. When that happens, it
becomes a highly stressful job with fear and frayed tempers often leading to tragedy.
Above all, we need respect for human life and that starts at the top. How can anyone
forget Madeline Albright shrugging off the deaths of half a million Iraqi children, or
Hillary Clinton's "We came, we saw, he died" paraphrasing Julius Caesar, after the
barbaric murder of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya by our allies -- allies who have spread
a vicious fundamentalism as far south as Nigeria and central Africa.
News reports state Mrs. Clinton will be announcing a run for President on Sunday
despite a dubious personal history of unanswered questions: miraculous commodities
trading turning $1000 into a $100,000 in one year; drawing up fake sales contracts
with a hidden buy-back option; husband Bill with a foundation collecting money from
abroad while wife Hillary was Secretary of State; the email problem with archival and
doctored history issues, and so on.
Well, the American public is forgiving. It also has a short term memory and hardly any
knowledge of issues, other than the "good" versus "bad" drummed in by the
self-interested bias of highly corporatized major media.