The International Writers Magazine: From our New York Correspondent
Police Line: Do Not Cross
I saw a cell phone video from India of three beefy cops beating a useless, skinny little sucker with bamboo switches, which don’t cause judicial–grade injuries but still hurt like a bitch. The guy was forced to dance around like a jumping bean, all the time moving his hands and arms in a frantic attempt to cover himself while they whipped him. Finally, the head cop got tired of this and smacked the guy a good, open-hand KLACK to the head that sent him reeling sideways.
The guy was totally unarmed and dressed in rags, his only possession a cheap-looking, low-end identity card, which the cop confiscated. What he might possibly be guilty of, I can’t imagine. Well, actually, I can imagine. Maybe they know him from the neighborhood…
No point in losing sleep over it. Nobody is disputing the right of the police to beat people up anytime they feel like it. It’s one of the perks of the job. You just don’t want to be there when they go apeshit. Throughout the entire history of human civilization, no society has ever produced a kinder, gentler type of policeman.
Also, you have to consider the psychology of men in groups, which is not too far evolved from a gang of apes in the bush, armed with clubs – it doesn’t take too much to get them aroused. Then you add the badges, the authority and the impunity, it invariably ends up resembling “Animal Farm” or “Lord of the Flies”.
Life has bludgeoned into me the unpleasant reality that times don’t change, which has hit me doubly hard because I was an idealistic young radical (nevertheless, it made me a better artist). When I contemplate the prospects for the U.S., it’s starting to look like Yugoslavia. The sectarianism seems too concrete to be reconciled by means of a political process.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt built the United States into a leviathan, but the incomprehensible stream of stupid, self-destructive policies, enacted, it would seem, to satisfy unresolved infantile compulsions of a lot of pampered, spoiled adults, have reduced our market share and moral authority by half. You want an example? Instead of being ringed by enemies, like almost every other country in the world, we enjoy two of the world’s most peaceful and compliant neighbors, Mexico and Canada, and we can’t even seem to get along with them!
The New York Police Department should be considered a treasure trove of the social anthropology of sectarianism. Basically, the NYPD has been an Irish power enclave since its inception, the Irish being a sterling example of upward social mobility achieved through rioting. When the Irish appeared here in the nineteenth century as a result of the Potato Famine, they were treated like dogs. In 1863, Irish rioters burned and looted New York City out of a seething resentment for being drafted to serve in the Civil War, which they perceived as being forced to fight to free the slaves in the South, whom they considered to be their economic competition.
The Celtic ferocity of the Irish scared New Yorkers so traumatically that jobs in civic works were opened up for them, and they gravitated toward the Police Department, with its possibilities for generating a little extra cash on the side. The competition for these relatively lucrative opportunities became so intense that there was actually a bloody riot between two competing gangs of Irish cops on the steps of City Hall, which resulted in many fatalities and injuries.
||The NYPD has retained its Irish nature through the ages, admitting a few Italians and the occasional Jew. Since the civil rights era there has been an effort to recruit Black and Hispanics as well, but the DNA of the Police Department is still white and Irish, since every Irish police family always has nephews and brothers-in-law who need a job. I have a cousin who wrote a book entitled (God Help Me) “In Praise of Nepotism”, which he believes to be the natural order of things, and it may be, but just because a knucklehead employee succeeds in landing his equally dim nephew a job, it hardly advances the value of a firm by much, usually the opposite.
So maybe the present mutual antagonism between Irish and Blacks is following a progressive straight line from the draft riots of 1863. Maybe Ferguson MO is all about plantation society, where, if the Black person talks back, he receives a gunshot to the face and his corpse left to roast and ferment under the Missouri sun for hours, on the hottest day in July, as a caution to all the other slavehands.
A lot of this is acceptable to vast numbers of white persons. They dig it, vicariously. A lot of this sloganeering of “Support the Police” can be construed as a declaration of war on Black people. The gauge of public opinion has not moved very much. It seems we are being dragged through a black hole back to the world of black-and-white movies depicting mobs of white guys with ropes and torches rampaging through the streets in search of…whatever. What has moved, however, is the demographic shift that is installing social democratic-oriented leadership in some big posts, like the presidency and the mayoralty of New York, for example. So, Obama and de Blasio are obliged to live up to their campaign promises to try to improve the social climate in the country. As de Blasio put it, “We’re executing the platform. This is what we came here to do. It is still about the tale of two cities”.
New Yorkers like to believe that being focused on the money keeps them grounded and stable. Money is hard, cold reality that keeps you grounded, they believe. Consequently, New Yorkers don’t have personalities in the normal sense of the word. Rather, they are reactive organisms that rebound in the other direction when confronted by an obstacle, rather like those Jap robot vacuum cleaners that clean up all the money and then bounce back from solid objects. New Yorkers alter their personalities from person to person to achieve their maximum commercial impact, to get more money.
Whatever goes on in New York has a straight financial motive, and when Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch viciously attacked Mayor Bill de Blasio as having “blood on his hands”, as somehow being an accessory to the assassination of the two policemen in Brooklyn, I immediately dismissed the overt insult and tried to contemplate the deeper implications behind the attacks on de Blasio. My thinking leads toward Lynch, using his small power base of white cops, to lead a charge against their ancient economic rivals, the Blacks, in an attempt to concretize white public opinion against the Democratic de Blasio administration. The white voter’s opinion is of de Blasio, with his Black wife and mixed-race kids, being pretty much of a traitor to the white race. Really big people are telling Lynch that, with New York City’s Republican Party in disarray, he could get the nomination next time around. That could explain the lunatic statements he has been making, which would land anybody else in a padded cell in Bellevue’s mental ward.
Lynch has got a great role model in former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who contrary to all reality, still believes that anybody cares what he has to say. This old boy departed reality a long time ago and he won’t be returning soon! He’s offering free advice that de Blasio beg pardon of the Patrolman’s Union and sever all ties to Black civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who is the only voice representing the interests of the Black underclass, which is also de Blasio’s political base. Rudy, whose own police commissioner and confidant, Bernard Kerik, ended up serving a long prison stretch for corruption, is endowed with a foul mouth in a class by itself, and if Lynch continues in Rudy’s footsteps, he will go a long way toward inheriting Giuliani’s power base of outer borough pineappleheads.
The unbearably coarse attacks on de Blasio are part of the ongoing frontal assault on Democrats in general waged by the big money interests, but since there are no good sex scandals going on right now, Clinton’s and Eliot Spitzer’s and Anthony Weiner’s sex lives have been tossed aside and replaced with purely odious race-hatred as the centerpiece of the Republicans’ desperate struggle to oppose government oversight of the financial markets, which is costing Wall Street big money. They are willing to exploit racial divisiveness or anything else at hand to get their little Brainiac fingers back on the switches of power. Patrick Lynch might be their next Great White Hope if he is low and dirty enough to motivate a large following. Heck, today New York, tomorrow who knows! Lynch is more authentically working class than Giuliani, who was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York under Pres. Reagan before running for mayor, but he adheres closely to Giuliani’s playbook of racial divisiveness. Giuliani also delivered an incredibly incendiary, racist diatribe against the city's Black mayor at the time, David Dinkins, in the coarsest possible terms from the steps of City Hall to a mob of policemen, accusing him of insufficiently supporting the police and contributing to the conditions that led to the Crown Heights riots of 1989. Same scenario, no? Lynch, who didn’t receive Giuliani’s (mostly wasted, if you ask me) superb education and emerged directly from the ranks of beat cops, speaks with the coarse inflections of Rockaway and Staten Island and, as comedian Chris Rock recently joked, “Nothing is scarier than poor white people”.
I still have a question about the composition of the Staten Island grand jury that exonerated the policeman who killed loose cigarette vendor Eric Garner: mainly, how many retired cops were sitting on that panel? As any fan of Rodney Dangerfield comedy movies knows, Staten Island is the elephants graveyard for retired policemen. This should have been an open-and-shut case of unreasonable application of force, with the video offering a gripping account of the whole incident, but the grand jury choose not to believe its lying eyes and let itself be guided under the perfunctory direction of Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, a Republican who is now considering a run for the congressional seat vacated by disgraced Republican Michael Grimm, Republican, who was convicted on federal tax fraud and racketeering charges. The Indian video that I referred to at the beginning of this story showed bullying and unreasonable entitlement on the part of the Indian cops, but the New York recording of the chokehold killing of Eric Garner resembles nothing so much as an animal in the bush being brought down by a pack of jackals or hyenas.
The cops who turned their backs on de Blasio at the funeral for Officer Ramos were all white. That’s because the Black and Hispanic policemen’s groups were attending an alternative memorial service at the location of the assassination in Brooklyn. The leader of the Hispanic group suggested to a reporter that the attitude of the minority cops may be at variance from that of the Irish cops, raising the possibility of a schism in police ranks over the majority position of contempt for de Blasio. Maybe or maybe not. Maybe those groups are waiting for their phones to ring with offers of contributions before deciding what position to take. Sorry to sound like too much of a cynic!
Freud pointed out that adult persons use sophisticated techniques to resolve juvenile complexes, and that is true when you consider the little power games, fit-throwing and petty insults that one encounters in daily life. It’s always a relief to meet a well-adjusted adult person who seems to be pursuing rational goals, until you scratch the surface and discover that he is also motivated by mundane, infantile compulsions. So it should come as no surprise that mature nations, endowed with incredible resources and massive power systems, are also pursuing childhood goals, like white Americans, who are still sticking to infantile fantasies of being a white man’s paradise and controlling slaves. It’s a recipe for suicide, like putting a three year-old kid behind the wheel of a fully-loaded Ford Mustang convertible. It can only result in a crash.
© Dean Borok Jan 1st 2015
The Devil Made Me Do It
Bill Cosby is now revealed to be incapable of doing what he has insistently been advising the younger generation to do – pull your pants up.