Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “rodney king”

Rodney King is Dead. Have We Learned Anything? – Tom Rossi

Rodney King died this past Sunday, June 16, 2012. His death brought back our collective memory of the riots of 1992 in Los Angeles. It brought back, for many, memories of struggles for racial equality (or just decent treatment without fear of unwarranted violence)… struggles that are far from over.

As I watched the replays, on the news, of the riots of 1992, a few things struck me. Riots are the temper tantrum of adult society. As I’ve said before, they happen when a group of people are frustrated, wronged, oppressed even… and realistically powerless to bring about real change through “normal” civilized methods.

But why are normal, civilized methods akin to banging your head against the wall? One reason is certainly money and the cemented power-structures it protects. However, another very important reason is fragmentation. African-Americans fight for their rights, Hispanics fight for their rights, gays fight for their rights, women fight for their rights, animal lovers, Asians, poor people, the disabled, older people, etc., etc., etc.

Each of these groups says, “WE are mistreated and downtrodden! OUR group must be treated better!”

What’s wrong with this picture? It would be as if my right arm started a fight while my left arm worked the remote control for the TV. Some of this fragmentation is encouraged and even instigated by the powerful, but some is completely and independently a matter willfull choice on the part of the disenfranchised themselves.

To a large degree, the Occupy movement has been the one to finally get the picture. When I have walked among Occupy protesters, I’ve always noticed the incredible diversity in their ranks. And it’s not just so-called minorities, but a heck of a lot of white people of all ages, many with good-paying jobs (I often ask, in case you’re wondering how I know).

The occupy movement is non-exclusive. The only thing most occupiers want to kick out is violence.

What we need is to get together and demand that people be treated… well, like people! This doesn’t mean that we should spread all the wealth out evenly. It doesn’t mean, “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” It means that one person equals one vote. It means that we are all Americans and the color of our skin means nothing. It means that we are teammates – some stronger than others, yes, but we work together and not against each other. Community is what economists call “non-rival.”

If all of these so-called minorities (women are THE majority for cryin’ out loud) join together, they would make a truly formidable team – a super-majority. But this would require a Herculean sacrifice, at least in the minds of many people. This is what I ask: stop fighting for yourself and your own, and join the fight for us all. Give up your sacred little battles that you will never win by yourselves, anyway.

Working together, people can build something much greater than the sum of each of their work done separately. We must stop these little, pointless mini-movements that get nowhere and see a common goal.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.


The United Police State of America – Roger Ingalls

I want everyday hard working citizens to take five minutes from their crazy worker-bee routine to just stop and think about what is going on around them. I know it’s hard. We want to come home from another day of insanity, drink a glass of wine and just numb our brains for a few satisfying minutes before the chaotic next day rears its ugly head.

picture from pbs.com

We have to think, we have to engage our brains…for the sake of future generations. The days of “it’s all about me me me” are over! We must ascend to a higher state of social responsibility, it’s our duty…it’s our time.

I didn’t want this post to sound too preachy or get too long so I’ll get to the point. Please think about and become familiar with the following issues:

 1)      In many states and local city governments, it is now illegal for you to video tape police activities. No more Rodney King type videos.

2)      As of last Thursday, thanks to Congress and the President, it is now a Federal offense to cause a disturbance during some political events (H.R. 347). The right to assemble and protest, as guaranteed by the Constitution, is being minimized.

3)      The precedent has now been set allowing the President to assassinate you (an American citizen) if you are deemed a potential threat – your arrest or trial with guilty verdict is not necessary for execution.

4)      If you are alleged or considered a terrorist, you can be locked away for life, without official charge or trial (habeas corpus suspended).

5)      Political momentum is building to disallow a woman to control what is done to her own body.

6)      City governments are creating laws without constitutional or historic “commons” consideration that limits use of public places for assembly and protest.

The pace to limit our basic rights is accelerating. Thomas Jefferson and other like-minded Founding Fathers fought hard to get a Bill of Rights included in the Constitution. Wouldn’t it be tragic to let it all slip away? Think about this small list above…there are many others not shown.

Turning a blind eye to the elimination of freedom is like putting shackles and chains on our children and telling them to get used to it.


Roger Ingalls is well traveled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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