Brainwashed by Felonism’s Creators
Since the formation of our nation, the masses have been brainwashed into believing a segment of society deserves oppression, abuse, and even death. It stated when the first Abusers of Power convinced themselves and their non-slave holding peers that inhumane treatment of slaves was sanctioned by God and necessary to protect the financial security of their families and the nation. Their message was so convincing that even Abraham Lincoln believed people of African descent were inferior to those of European ancestry.
When the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1900’s reduced some of the monetary advantages of systemic racism, Abusers of Power created a new tool for oppressing minorities and people living in poverty. Casting a wider net, they criminalized anyone suspected or convicted of a crime, and the people who support them, identifying them as worthy of oppression. This tool is called “felonism”.
Over the past few decades, law enforcement trainers have bombard new recruits with the lie that they must use swift, lethal force when encountering suspects to ensure their own safety because the community is out to get them. Abusers of Power have persuaded voters to judge politicians by their harshness toward crime. This shift was obvious when presidential candidate Michael Dukakis was destroyed by Vice President George Bush’s attack ads implying Governor Dukakis was personally responsible for the furlough and subsequent crimes of Willie Horton. Four years later, Bill Clinton was elected to office after framing himself as a “get-tough-on crime”, pro- death penalty candidate.
Abusers of Power advanced their message using the media to convince society that anyone who comes in contact with the wrong side of our criminal “justice” system deserves systemic abuse, even to the point of death. In the minds of some, minor crimes such as allegedly shoplifting cigarillos, bootlegging cigarettes, or passing a counterfeit $20 bill justifies brutality and murder as long as it’s performed by people in uniforms.
Like an invisible virus, this message of felonism permeates and weakens every segment of our society. Children cannot openly discuss the incarceration of family members at school because they know such a conversation will delegate them to the “less-than” category. Women and men suffer social isolation and financial consequences if they publicly reveal their relationship with an incarcerated spouse to coworkers with felonistic beliefs.
Felonistic policies dominate our financial institutions. Banks and the Small Business Administration have identified people with past charges or conviction as unworthy of receiving loans. Ex-felons have been denied PPP and EIOD loans designed to help our nation economically survive COVIC-19. Even people convicted four decades ago who have well established companies are denied assistance by felonistic policies.
Because this systemic oppression has not been publicly identified, offenses by felonists have gone unrestrained, unrecognized and grossly underreported while the perpetrators have been honored as the righteous protectors of society.
With the murder of George Floyd, we are beginning to recognize this universal assault on segments of our population for what it is. Metaphorically, snipers have been randomly executing our neighbors. Until we witnessed years of videos in which unarmed children and adults being gunned down, our brainwashed minds denied that all of us are in danger.
As bad as it may sound, the biased slaying of our neighbors is a symptom of the problem; the brainwashing of our society and abdication of our power to men who have lied and manipulated us is the real problem. Like puppets on a ventriloquist’s string, some blindly repeat slogans and propaganda without any attempt to authenticate the “facts” from authoritative, educated sources. When confronted with irrefutable flaws in their beliefs, people who have been brainwashed into believing that Blacks (and other groups identified by Abusers of Power) deserve oppression immediately switch to what-about-ism, name calling, insulting, abusing, or just abandoning the conversation rather than honestly discussing facts.
As tempting as it may be, blaming others and claiming solutions will only come from restricting, punishing, or transforming others will not resolve this systemic crisis. As embarrassing, and possibly shameful as it may feel, admitting to our participation in this dynamic is necessary. Denying the lies that motivate us to oppress others only serves to strengthen our puppeteers. In his book, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, President Mandela admitted he was shocked to realize he too had been brainwashed into believing Blacks were intellectually inferior beings. Upon seeing that both pilots of the plane he was boarding were African nationals, his initial reaction was to fear the plane would crash without a white man in the cockpit. Hopefully, we can all laugh at ourselves, as he did, when we examine our minds and realize we too hold unfounded fears and harsh judgments against people identified as worthy of oppression.
We cannot expect Abusers of Power to voluntarily relinquish power when confronted by their misdeeds. It is our job to close our ears to their deceptions and rigorously open our minds to the truth. When politicians, law enforcement officers, or corporations make explicit statements designed to instigate fear and initiate preemptive strikes against those identified as unworthy, we must ask ourselves, “How will they benefit if I submit to their fearmongering? Who makes money or increases in power when I comply with their predictions of potential harm?”
It is also our responsibility to confront implicit messages from the media and others that suggest people suspected or convicted of a crime are less-than. By laughing when someone jokes about “dropping the soap”, we participate in the felonistic belief that people in prison deserve to be raped. By joining in to gossip about a woman who visits her incarcerated husband every weekend, we damage the emotional safety of our environment for everyone.
Accepting personal responsibility for our own thoughts, actions, and words is the only path to full equality. Yammering on about who is to blame only distracts us from the real issue. We must identify the Abusers of Power, disentangle ourselves from their puppet strings, and empower ourselves to actively pursue healing, justice, prosperity, and freedom for all human beings. Any action less than those will returns us to the hands of the very tyrants from which the framers of the Constitution wanted us to escape. Granted, those men were blind to the rights of people who did not look like them, yet they laid the foundation for us to choose between compliance to Abusers of Power or freedom. Let’s cut our strings, open our minds, and chose freedom over oppression.
Written by Linda C Polk M. Ed., MSW
June 2, 2020p