Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Gives Me Hope

After watching the video of the UCLA Taser incident a second time, it occurs to me that it symbolizes perfectly the situation that we, as a People, find ourselves in today.

In the video, we see a college student, a young man (of Middle Eastern heritage) who has committed no crime, endangered no one, offended no one, done nothing unusual (except insist on his inalienable right not to be asked for his "papers") being tortured by the Police in full view of his fellow students.

Seeing this, the students are outraged, as well they should be. And they voice their outrage, as well they should, and demand a stop to the torture, and when the Police don’t stop they demand names and badge numbers from the Police—

And the Police refuse, and threaten them with torture as well, then go back to torturing the young man, while everyone watches in horror and shouts in impotent rage …

That is what we, as a People, are doing today. We are watching our government commit atrocities abroad, and deny fundamental human rights here at home, and that is all we are doing: Watching. And shouting. We’re shouting. In impotent rage.

Were that the only lesson of the video, it would be too discouraging. Fortunately, the video goes on …

Near the end of the video, the onlookers, who have previously only been watching, and shouting (in impotent rage), suddenly stop their shouting and surge forward, causing the outnumbered Police to stop the torture and hurry away to safety.

Later, the Police claimed they only threatened to torture the other students because the one they were torturing called to the others to help him, and they were afraid a riot would ensue. But this is not true. Nowhere in the video does the tortured man say such a thing.

No, the students surge forward on their own, without prompting. And that is what gives me hope.

It is the hope that we, as in “We the People,” will soon stop shouting in impotent rage and surge forward. Impotent rage never accomplished a thing. Only rage swiftly followed by a fist has ever defeated a tyrant ...