Law in Contemporary Society

Angel Eyes

-- By WilliamDavidWilliams - 24 Apr 2012

Introduction

The United States’ pledge of allegiance proclaims “with liberty and justice for all.” However, several groups in the United States have been disenfranchised throughout its history. Although in 2012 the nation has cast a notion of great exuberance due to overcoming incessant injustice, I believe that its leaders have helped to discriminate against many of its citizens to preserve what they see as near and dear to their societal and economic values. From its founding, this nation has supporting constant suppression through appearing to have innocent “angel eyes,” when it reality it practices the politics of deception.

The Constitution

Several provisions in the Constitution supported the institution of slavery such as the fugitive slave clause, the three-fifths clause to relegate slaves to second class citizenship status, and the Art. I, 8 Militia clause. Natsu Taylor Saito, Whose Liberty? Whose Security? The USA Patriot Act in the Context of COINTELPRO and the Unlawful Repression of Political Dissent. 81 Or. L. Rev. 1051, 1065. However, slavery was not enough. America had to convince its citizens that what it was supporting still upheld to the justice promised in the Constitution. Thus, it used racism to justify the imposition of slavery, but this justification was arguably more harmful than slavery itself. Derrick Bell notes that this practice was instrumental in creating an innate-like belief that some people were unequal to others and therefore treating them in a harmful manner was natural. Derrick Bell, Racism as Deception, 86 N.C. L. REV. 621, 623 (2008). Injustice was justified in the nation’s founding document in the guise of “the blessings of liberty.” U.S. Const. Preamble

Constitution is Upheld and Injustice Continues

Subsequent court cases such as Dred Scott took the Constitution’s lead and further proclaimed that African Americans were not citizens. Id at 625. This growing conformity made it easier to accept the “ills” of unequal treatment as a part of society. Id at 631. Those that rebelled were called “terrorists,” and many of them who had this courage to stand up to hypocrisy were killed. In A Plea to Captain John Brown, Henry David Thoreau noted the harsh treatment that John Brown was subjected to for supporting the true notion of liberty and justice for all. In fact, many European Immigrants after the Civil War were able to rise in social status by continuing to treat blacks as a lower class and thus preserving the social order. Id at 626.

The Cover Up and Infiltration to Stop Potential “Messiah”

Natsu Taylor Saito declares,

It has been well-documented by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as by hundreds of thousands of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Administration (NSA), and dozens of other federal, state, and local agencies have engaged in illegal and unconstitutional actions against U.S. citizen and noncitizen residents in an effort to silence political dissent.

Saito, supra at 1058.

An example of this cover up to continue unjust practices since the nation’s founding occurred with COINTELPRO, an FBI initiative to stop black liberation. Although J. Edgar Hoover claimed that the program was only intended to stop hate based organizations, Hoover led the FBI in the destruction of several beneficial programs such as sickle cell anemia clinics and free breakfast and clothing initiatives of the Black Panther Party. Saito, supra at 1096. The love that characterized these movements was substituted for FBI led media portrayals of these programs as violent, radical, and against American democracy. The FBI even worked to have certain people assassinated and ultimately destroyed the Black Panther Party. Similar to John Brown, citizens who actually strived for justice were “cast” as a disease to all things democratic.

J. Edgar Hoover strikingly stated that one purpose of COINTELPRO was to “prevent the rise of a ‘messiah”’ who could unify the movement for Black liberation. According to Hoover, “Malcolm X might have been such a ‘messiah;’ . . . Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position.” A second initiative was to “[p]revent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining respectability." Saito, supra at 1094.

Despite the efforts of organizations such as the Black Panther Party to give “strength” back to their communities and to protect a group that had been historically been discriminated against through “self-defense,” the United States, as representative through the FBI, sought to destroy it in the guise of justice and preventing rebellion.

Has Anything Changed?

In 2012, a third of all African Americans males end up in prison. Although there is a minority president, based on the history of the United States it appears that if he had a family history of descendants from slavery and ancestors who grew up in this nation, there would have been more pushback from him becoming president due to more fear of “black liberation.” In addition, the appearance of someone in power does not matter if that person supports the status quo. As Columbia Law professor Eben Moglen discussed with his students, injustice has become subtle but that does not mean that it has improved. This is actually further evidence that injustice has become worse because it is further engrained in the nation’s fabric.

Conclusion

These innocent “angel eyes” have fractured a nation while proclaiming justice is being served. The treatment of African Americans in this nation is only one example. Thus, it is hard to see the significance of elections and laws when the structure of the nation has remained the same since its founding. The politics of deception has only made it more effective. It has created a subconscious thought pattern that has led to people striving for conformity and thus no “real change” in the structure and government of the United States. It is thus hard to believe in the government, as it likely will continue the “angel eyes” paradigm.

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r7 - 22 Jan 2013 - 20:10:56 - IanSullivan
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