Growing up, we’re each born and initiated into a given country, religion, gender and ethnic/racial group. Part of every initiation is the core belief that “our group” is the best. In short, we willingly and deliberately divide ourselves up, so for any of us to ask, “How did we get so divided,” comes off as either completely disingenuous, or hopelessly naïve.
NONE of those things are within any of our control. We didn't choose our nation of birth, or religion, race, or ethnicity, or gender.
The one true divider is “money,” or achievement.
Over a century ago, America’s first super-wealthy - the Rockefellers, Morgans and Rothschilds did see themselves as different...and decidedly apart from “the people.”
After all, achievement, like failure, is something we choose, or at least bring about by our own actions – both intentional and unintentional.
Unfortunately, achievement and the wealth and power it brings, doesn't generally bring along an affinity for others, quite the reverse. In virtually EVERY case, the initiators of great fortunes were themselves sharks, who fought their way to the apex of the achievement food chain. You might think they’d admire those they’d see as fellow sharks on the way up among the younger generation, but instead they universally fear, loathe and revile them, because they KNOW their own heirs don’t have the sharpened skills that adversity hones in a real shark. While they may have the genetics, they usually don’t have the environment conducive to forging a cut-throat shark.
John D. Rockefeller infamously said, “Competition is a sin.”
It’s views like that which forged our “modern” Corporatist world. In America, the “Robber Barons” (Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies, etc.) saw only one path to maintaining their fortunes going forward and it wasn't via the shark infested waters of the free market, at least not in their views. Their heirs weren't as savvy, nor as cut-throat as they were, so a new alliance had to be forged.
In the past religions had partnered with governments, forming Theocracies, in order to more easily both maintain the illusion of legitimacy (“the Divine Right of Kings”) and compel the people to obey.
In the “modern” era, where “commerce is king,” the new alliance became that between government and Corporations...that is exclusively large, multi-national Corporations.
In America that partnership began in earnest in 1913 with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act and the 16th Amendment. Since that time that alliance between “Big Business” (multi-national corporations) and government has only grown stronger.
From that alliance has sprung up a new and separate class in America – the political class and with a Corporately owned and controlled media, our mainstream media has been peopled almost entirely from the members of the political class. When leading politicians want to find jobs for their children, they’re often found in the media (Chris Cuomo, Jenna Bush, Chelsea Clinton and many others). Far more insidious is that political operatives, like George Stephanopoulos (a Dukakis campaign aide and later communications director for the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton) and Chris Matthews (a Jimmy Carter speech writer and staff member of at least 4 Congressmen) move back and forth between the media and the political world. Moreover, many of the News Directors in the U.S. media flow easily back and forth between media and various political jobs.
The media plays a vital part in hiding our Corporatist government, first by constantly referring to our current and ongoing economic Corporatism, or “Crony Capitalism” as pure Capitalism and perhaps more importantly continuing the lie that “America’s political class springs up from ‘the people’ just like you and me.”
But what the media does that is most vital is to divide the people, or more aptly to deepen, darken and exploit those divisions to the benefit of the political class and their corporate benefactors.
The easiest division to exploit is the most obvious in America, its black/white fault line. Blacks generally don’t trust whites and vice versa. It often appears that they exist in two separate realities and thanks, in part, to media manipulation they DO!
Take just two recent national stories that centered around race, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and the Michael Brown killing in Missouri. In both shootings the media presented TO very different stories – one to blacks and another to whites.
The black version of the Trayvon Martin shooting portrayed Trayvon Martin as a 12 y/o...a picture of him at age 12 was widely used by the media...who was followed and viciously confronted by a white neighborhood watch member, George Zimmerman...who just happened to be Hispanic. In this version Trayvon Martin was executed in cold blood by a racist white authority figure, for doing nothing more than “walking while black.”
In the white version, diligent neighborhood watch Captain, George Zimmerman (who also happened to be an unstable “cop wannabe”), happened upon Trayvon Martin (a troubled 17 y/o with a history of petty burglaries) lurking between two residences within the gated community, the way a would-be burglar might case out a target. In this version, Zimmerman calls the police to report this behavior and is asked by police dispatch what address the suspect is at and George Zimmerman gets out of his car to verify the address and is viciously attacked by Trayvon Martin on his way back to his car. Trayvon Martin is shot, according to this version, as he struggles for Zimmerman’s gun.
Two such conflicting accounts that become gospel in their respective communities not only deepens already existing divisions, but creates a cavernous gulf between blacks and whites, to the point that rational dialogue between the two groups is almost impossible. Blacks are indignant that whites seem to “be justifying the execution of a 17 y/o black youth,” and whites perceive blacks to be “supporting a black kid’s right to assault a man for merely following him over some obviously suspicious behavior.” Both sides see THEIR perceptions as ironclad and right and thus see the other side as both hateful and immoral.
Likewise, in the Michael Brown shooting, there were TWO very different and distinct stories told by the media – one to blacks and one to whites. In the version geared toward blacks, Michael Brown was walking down the street with his friend Dorian Johnson, when white police officer, Darren Wilson, came upon them cussed them and tried to drag Brown into his police cruiser. When he couldn’t do that, according to Dorian Johnson, he then shot a fleeing Brown in the back, then executed him as the youth turned around with his hands up, in a sign of surrender.
In the white version, Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson had just engaged in a petty (under $50 in value) “strong-arm robbery” at a local convenience store (making off with a bunch of cigarillos). Officer Darren Wilson approaches the two teens as they saunter down the center of a well-trafficked thoroughfare and orders them both onto the sidewalk. Dorian Johnson complies, but the far larger Mike Brown does not and as Wilson opens his car door to exit, the 290 pound Michael Brown charges the police cruiser, pinning Wilson inside, then punches the officer in the face and struggles for his gun. Two shots are fired from inside the car and one of them hits Michael Brown in the hand. Wilson gets out of the car with his weapon drawn and orders Brown to the ground and when Brown responds by charging him shoots him until he goes down.
In BOTH versions any belief in the other narrative is not only inconsistent, but outrageously immoral. From the “black perspective,” the white narrative “justifies a racist white cop executing a scared black teen trying to surrender.” From the “white perspective” the black narrative “rationalizes black lawlessness and a potentially deadly assault on a police officer.” There is no common ground between the two versions, nor between those with a vested interest in either scenario.
Grand Juries are tasked with the unenviable task of sorting out the facts. In the Trayvon Martin case, Zimmerman’s injuries were consistent with his version of being attacked and having his head bashed against the sidewalk, while Trayvon Martin’s body had no other injuries (consistent with being attacked) other than a single gunshot wound to the chest. IF Zimmerman was the mad dog bigot he was accused of being, this would’ve been more of a “crime of passion,” with multiple gunshot wounds, etc. brought on by rage.
In that case, as flawed an individual as Zimmerman was, the facts in that particular case seemed to back up Zimmerman’s story more than that of the narrative that presented Martin as a victim of a racist execution, and George Zimmerman was cleared of the charges.
In the Michael Brown case, the autopsy showed no bullets entered Mike Brown’s back, so witness accounts like Dorian Johnson’s (who claimed that Wilson shot Brown in the back) must be dismissed. The two shots fired inside the car also tend to back up Wilson’s narrative about being attacked inside his vehicle. Moreover, Dorian Johnson, who complied with the officer’s lawful directive to get out of the street, was unharmed. Had Darren Wilson been a rogue racist, you’d think he’d have killed them both. Again, the Grand Jury clears the shooter, but the two different and distinct narratives live on and that means that those vested in “the black narrative” feel that the system let them down. Anger and division are exponentially increased and the reaction of skeptical whites who see nothing but immorality and racial bigotry in the black narrative, only increases the alienation and divisions between the two groups.
And the WINNER is...the political class and their corporate masters.
If you’re not part of the political class, or a titan of industry or a major Banker, you are part of the rabble...“the people.” The poor, both black and white are dispossessed. In fact, poor whites (72% of the poor) are even more dispossessed because they are mostly rural and unseen. Unlike the black poor, they have no champions in government, the media nor in corporate suites.
In both the above incidents George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson were merely working class people who became engaged in situations that quickly spiraled out of control into life and death struggles.
Ultimately their real crime was survival.
In both cases four lives were ruined, two men killed and two men’s lives completely destroyed. None of that matters to the political class because none of the four matter at all to the “elites.”