America’s Ongoing Race Issues

So I’ve been watching what has been happening around the country, the recent mid-term elections and the happenings over the last few months and particularly the last couple of days in Ferguson, Missouri. Race issues are showing themselves to be just as alive as they were nearly 25 years ago.

Ferguson and Los Angeles

I spent 30 years living in Los Angeles and that included the LA Riots of 1992. At the time I was working for a comp-any in Santa Monica and driving home to the east side of Hollywood after the evening curfew. The National Guard had been called out, but I rarely ran into them, the few times I passed them, they never really bothered with me.

When I was about 5 or 6, I lived in St. Louis and my mother taught at McCluer North High School which is just a little north of Ferguson, but part of the same school district. I remember being absolutely amazed by the school and I enjoyed the evenings that I would spend there while my mother graded papers and the other duties of a teacher.

My heart bleeds for the thought of what has happened there, I guess I was unaware of the issues that were happening around me at the time, but give me a break, I was only 6 years old…

As much as the happenings have shown us for the beasts that we can be as Homo sapiens, I do not think “human” qualifies here. The part that I find the toughest is that what I have been hearing on both sides of the situation in Ferguson is practically identical to what I heard in Los Angeles in 1992 and shortly afterwards. We have not seemed to grown in the last 30 years.

Police are still taught to be paranoid, where that is a valuable skill to prepare them for the worst situation, they do not seem capable of handling when something less extreme is the case. No matter what may or may not have happened, there is just no reason why an unarmed person should be shot by a professional, trained police officer. In many places it seems that the police are becoming a domestic military that is often not held accountable for their actions.

Do not get me wrong, I am a supporter of the police and am aware of the fact that most are probably excellent in their jobs, but by the definition of the job, they attract some people who should not be in the field, power is not the reason to be an officer.

The other side of the happenings in both Los Angeles and Ferguson that I have never understood is the self-destruction of one’s own neighborhood as an expression of anger and frustration. Does anyone really think that wanton destruction of Ferguson is going to make anything better? Will it bring in more business? Better jobs? Cause a fundamental shift in the thinking of those perceived to be responsible for what has happened? If anything, I would think it has the exact opposite effect, jobs and businesses leave and those in “power” have just been handed the justification they expected to continue doing exactly what they have been, extremely counterproductive.

The Mid-Term Elections

I am not sure if I should laugh or cry at the outcome of the mid-terms. I have been listening to the Republicans crow their victory as if it was some great mandate of the people. Historically, Mid-Terms tend to go against the party of the sitting President and if there is one thing that Republicans and their talking radio-heads do, it is play the blame and fear game.

During George W. Bush’s administration, particularly after 9-11, America became a Petri dish of social experiments in National Pavlovian Behavior (NPB). I would hope you are familiar with the idea of “Pavlov’s dog.” No? That would explain an awful lot about the last 13 years and everything on Talk Radio from the right.

Maybe I am being to tough on the right, it’s not like teaching fear as a national philosophy has actually just recently begun, look at the ongoing use of my parents Pavlovian experiment, Socialism, ooh!

Words are powerful and certain words have been programmed to elicit a preset response. We have the 4-letter words that are considered foul, but for my parents generation two extremely powerful ones are Socialism and Communism. Nothing Socialistic in nature could be a good thing because it is Socialist. These very same people are pre-programmed to forget that the structure used for the Police and Fire Departments is a Socialistic structure. When Washington bailed out the banking system, they basically became Socialist in nature, to a degree.


One of the things that has bothered me most about this latest election cycle has been the whole race issues thing.  The Republican Party claims their issues with President Obama are strictly ideological in nature, but the evidence is everywhere that this is not the case. Where the left may have had little to no respect for President George W. Bush, they still showed a respect for the office, this is a courtesy not being shown by their Republican counterparts, too bad.

Race will, sadly, likely be an issue in America for the foreseeable future, it’s an easy target. Large blocks of the southern states cannot see past race to see that they have been and are being manipulated to work against their own best interests.  Maybe we should consider calling our country the United States of Pavlov.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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