"It is the death of humanity to know the price of everything but the value of nothing." ~Unknown

Monday, February 8, 2010

(Beyond) Good vs Evil

by change the Be

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Sun Feb 07, 2010 at 07:11:06 AM PST

The Internet is a chaotic and random place, much like the human mind. And in my mind this early, early AM are some random thought processes that are forming into solid thoughts. Kind of like the rain bands that materialized over SoCali yesterday and drenched us yet again.

 This piece is borne from the BBC News story about new police officers in Mexico, an article quote of Nagin and New Orleans being a 'chocolate city', and a random sampling of my many thoughts and personal observations about the Drug War.

Perhaps the fact that I never assembled any type of narrative or complete, written reaction to my experiences in '08-09 (which include almost 10 months of lockup for cannabis charges) has inspired me to keep reaching for intellectual higher ground, upon which I can view the wreckage of our society's health, judiciary, and woefully corrupt law enforcement.
On one side of the border, a geographic dichotomy as it were, you have opposite, mirroring situations. There's the USA, where inmates walk the halls of LA County Jail, past the murals of John wayne on every floor and 6-foot portraits of dead cops. then there's mexico, where the populace at large is terrorized by drug cartels while also glamorizing them at times as rebels.

How is it that in Mexico there can be narco-ballads and drug lords like this:
Joachin Guzman Loera, better-known as El Chapo - Shorty - is one of the world's biggest drug barons and, ostensibly, Mexico's most wanted man.
So one wonders why he feels safe enough to frequent local restaurants in his home county of Sinaloa and to stage a lavish, well-publicised ceremony in the mountains there to celebrate his marriage to an 18-year-old Mexican beauty queen.
Whereas over her in the USA, tv shows like 'Weeds' are considered rebellious, and our 'good' citizens gobble up drugs from Mexico, Central, and South America while paying taxes to a 'good' government that blows the money on fighting the 'evil' drug dealers. End result: lost lives, govt. sponsored price supports for drug dealers, wasted taxpayer money, incarcerated innocents, and little treatment for addicts.

I am not exempt from these mind games. When I think of the police, insecure American cops come to mind, not courageous and heroic women like Blanca Del Rio--drug cartel thugs killed her husband, and she refuses to do nothing. She proves the cop stereotypes wrong, while also reinforcing the notion that drug cartels are evil, not rebellious good guys.  Because the drug cartels are both at the same time- they are a reaction to the Puritanical drug policies of Uncle Sam and a result of oppression of Latin America, both economically and militarily.

But they are not merely economic or political rebels like the guerrillas in Colombia...the Mexican drug cartels are more like American Corporations because of their unrivaled greed and wanton lack of interest in their fellow humans' welfare.

For every friendly pot dealer (my old job) out there, there's also a skeezed-out coke/meth dealer. So when you look closely at the Drug war, you find it is like politics, business, or any sector of Life: it is not possible to permanently distinguish who is 'good' or 'bad'.  It's all mixed in together. Kurt Vonnegut would call it the human condition.

On scales small and large, we see humans try to separate themselves from 'evil', while also marginalizing others for being 'evil'. We see it now with Saxby Chambliss accusing gays of bringing "alcoholism" and "fraternization" and loose behavior to the military, which would be a good way to describe heterosexuals in the military as well (I know plenty of examples from back home down South). We see this dynamic in racism, whether it's in the South or the North, where Americans discriminate against the 'darker' peoples and their inherently 'evil' ways.

New York City is just as guiltyas Birmingham when it comes to filling jail cells with young black men on petty drug cases these days. Why? Because racism isn't regional. It's ignorance, and ignorance is universal. Socrates argued that what we call evil is really the same as ignorance.

The good/evil dichotomy, as my Derrida-loving high school English prof would say, is welded into humanity's perception of so many things in life. It is part of our human nature, which Western civilization for so long split into dualism- good vs evil, rational vs creative, mind vs body, etc etc. Carl Jung said evil was the "dark side of God". Kids play cops and robbers, a good vs evil game. Then those kids get older, and get caught up in the worldwide game of cops vs robbers, which has become the War on Drugs/Minorities/Civil Rights.

The Drug War is our ongoing nightmare intended to sustain a military-esque police/prison infrastructure. It is an perpetual injustice that fills an authoritarian void left by so many things in our American past: Jim Crow laws, Japanese internment camps, the KKK, segregation, McCarthyism, Salem witch hunts. Of course, Freud would point out the fetish for power many cops/judges/Puritans have, derived from their own mental diseases,inadequacies, and imperfections. We see this played out every day online in the news; constantly we read of cops brutalizing victims, or even sexually assaulting them.

But I digress, albeit intentionally so. In a diary that will be read by 10-20 folks, liberties will understandably be taken with digressions.

Here's the dichotomy in Mexico these days, thanks to Americans:
"Plata o plomo," is the local saying. "Silver or lead," you either work for the cartels or they kill you.
let's put the diarist back into jail
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