Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We Gone Have Rocks This Big Tonight!

One time my dad and I were watching the local news about a huge drug bust in Oakland public housing. Police laid out the seized drugs, guns, and money like trinkets at a garage sale. There was talk of the "street value" of the contraband and local "community leaders" were consulted about the impact of the arrests. However, as the reporter made his final remarks, a group of young men clamored behind him to make their own comment. "We gone have rocks this big tonight!" one of them yelled out. Ahh, another seminal moment in the effort to set Black progress back a couple hundred years.

"Move token back to 1864. Do not Collect $200."

Needless to say, me and my dad still think it's hilarious to yell that out as loud as possible. However, it wasn't until the recent Gulf oil spill disaster that I truly understood what that kid meant.

First, I should say that the BP disaster has bummed me out. The feeling is similar to the aftermath of 9/11, when the totality and brutality of the disaster is just so great that it's hard to find words. I kept starting posts and not knowing where to go with them. I stopped watching the news to avoid images of ruined beaches and storks covered in tar.


There's no comparing the loss of human life during 9/11, but at least the events of that disaster were confined to that day. This spill doesn't seem anywhere close to stopping. The relief wells are supposed to stop the thing, but what happens if that doesn't work? (Am I the only one who is not comforted by the fact that the best solution we have to a drilling disaster is...more drilling?) Even if it does work, it will be months before they are up and running and by that time, millions and millions more gallons of oil will coat the gulf.

9/11 was a bit more accessible because it had a cast of villains that were easy to identify, and bomb. We know the major players in this disaster, BP and Haliburton, but you unfortunately can't bomb a corporatoin. Which brings me to sadness that has become the NeObama administration.

NeObama was supposed to defy the rules of the Matrix. He did it somewhat effectively with health care, but no matter how many bullets he dodges or digital baddies he highkicks, he can't get around the fact that his power is contained within a machine, and that machine is powered by siphoning the heat of newborns.

Hang in there, baby.

In other words, although the Executive branch is more powerful than it's ever been, our President (for whatever reason) seems to have little power to act on his own accord. He can frown and cuss and wag his finger, but there is very little the president can do. It's hard to shake the feeling that he's in the same position as his predecessor, stuck reading The Pet Goat while larger forces determine our fates.

Some would say that NeO has sold out, or that the whole hope thing was a big deception, but that's hard for me to believe. I think a lot of people are upset because NeO convinced us to not only believe in him, but to believe that the presidency would be the sight of revolutionary economic and social change. That has been proven false. Maybe I'm naive, but although I have lost faith in the presidency as an institution, I still believe in the man who inhabits it.

However, there's no getting around that the oil and war interests still run the show. If 9/11 couldn't cause a meaningful rethinking of our energy policy, is it feasible to think that that a few thousand oily birds are going to change things?

Which brings us to "We gone have rocks this big tonight." I first took the young man's usage of the word "have" to mean "smoke." In other words, it doesn't matter how many drug raids you have, you can't keep us from smoking rocks. But now I realize that I was off. What he was actually doing was a form of defiant advertising. He wasn't saying he was going to be smoking rocks, but rather he was going to be selling rocks, no matter what the police did. He wanted everyone to know that business was going to continue as usual. In fact, he probably gained a couple customers who might have otherwise been dissuaded by the bust.

That attitude is no different than a corporation like Haliburton, which caused the spill. No matter what anybody says, they are making their money, and will continue to make their money.

By the way, does anybody else think it's strange that this particular corporation has been at the center of every major catastrophe that's befallen this country in the last ten years? The Bush presidency, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, Gulf spill, etc.

If this corporation was a person, they would be a definite candidate for the "No Fly" list. At what point do we decide that it's in our country's interest for a company to just not exist? It may sound silly, but can we install a death penalty for corporations?

Until we do take serious action to reign in these bad acting corporations, and their overwhelming influence, we're all going to be sitting ducks until the next disaster.

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