Authoritarian Apologia

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Memo to Fox News and Joe Scarborough: KEEP PROVIDING COVER FOR MONSTERS.

One of the worst parts of this week's clusterfuck in Ferguson, MO is the blatant apologists. I expect the militarized, sociopathic thugs that our nation's police forces have largely turned into to pull shit like tear-gassing an Al-Jazeera America truck for the crime of filming in Ferguson, or choking a 400-pound man to death because he didn't come along quietly enough.

But, despite all my cynicism, and all my experience, I'm still a bit surprised at the lengths members of certain classes will go to in order to believe that the victims of police brutality, police excess, and police overreach somehow had it coming.

The effort they go to is so over the top that it doesn't even matter if, ultimately, the person or people involved are found to have deserved it. Not that that happens often, but even when it does, the fervor with which people seek out any scrap of evidence to hang their belief on is still creepy and unacceptable.

Why is this? Racism is clearly a big part of it, as we've seen time and time again. Class is part of it. But a lot of it is the fundamentalist authoritarian streak that runs deep within everyone whose livelihood depends on The System working.

Fox News, of course, is famous for this. In less than half an hour of Ferguson coverage on Fox yesterday, I learned the following fascinating factoids"

  • A lot of this is Al Sharption's fault in an attempt to further boost his career.
  • There's no reason police would dress in military gear unless they feared for their lives.
  • The media should stop taking pictures of police in military gear. It scares people.
  • The best possible example of a "civil rights group" is "The New Black Panthers".
  • Reporters arrested for being in a McDonalds in Ferguson may have been looking for trouble.
  • Speaking about riots in a United States city only makes the situation worse if you're the President.

Lot of racism there, lot of knee-jerk anti-Obama ranting, the usual light mouth-foam that accompanies any event like this on Fox. You know, like when Geraldo blamed getting shot on wearing a hoodie.

Of course, over on MSNBC, the supposedly liberal network, Joe "Never Met A Jackboot I Didn't Like" Scarborough castigated the arrested (white) reporters for simply not being deferential enough to police for ordering them out of a McDonalds on no legitimate grounds whatsoever. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

“I’ve been in places where police officers said, ‘all right you know what, this is cordoned off, you guys need to move along.’ You know what I do? I go, ‘yes, sir, or yes, ma’am.’... Next time a police officer tells you that you’ve got to move along because you’ve got riots outside, well, you probably should move along.”

You know what's not illegal? Ignoring a policeman's advice. You know what's not illegal? Asking for an officer's name and badge number. You know what's not illegal? Filming police. Well, it's illegal in some places, but those laws are blatantly unconstitutional. The point is, you shouldn't be arrested for disobeying an illegal order from a policeman.

Not that it matters. What matters is that with people like Scarborough, you can never be compliant enough, because if you'd been compliant enough, clearly the police wouldn't have mistreated you. The very fact that authorities turned their attention to you is proof that you must have done something wrong, even if that wrong thing was not immediately saying "yes, sir" to whatever request the police made, no matter how they made it.

These people refuse to acknowledge the idea that the authorities can be wrong unless the authorities target them and theirs, at which point it becomes a conspiracy to silence them (see Dinesh D'Souza and Cliven Bundy for examples). And this cover for abuse of authority is what causes the abuse to keep getting worse - from the shock tactics to disrupt Occupy to the shootings and chokeholds and Taser deaths from cops to Trayvon Martin, who wasn't even murdered by the authorities, but got the same treatment because his killer's lighter skin tone automatically made him part of the ruling class. Assholes. Every goddamned one of them.

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