From our experience in half a century in Latin America I can tell you that, once the human rights of a minority are compromised, it is only a matter of time before they are compromised for an entire nation. From that same experience I can tell you it will take decades before they can be regained. Militarized police forces take on a life of their down, at the expense of the society's well-being. The social contract that gives the state the duty to organize police forces itself becomes obsolete, almost a joke. Citizens begin to obey agents of the state not out of respect or cooperation, but out of fear of those sworn to protect them. Eventually, the militarized power of the police reaches such magnitude that political leaders lose all ability to rein them in. We experienced this USA-backed militarized transformation of the police in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, and Colombia. What the U.S. helped do to Latin America, it is now doing to itself.The only way to resist this downward slide into despotism is to stand with those who are having their rights abused now, and that means minorities, immigrants, the mentally ill, protestors, and those members of the media who are actively covering the situation even at risk to their own usually protected status.
Even when there will officers who want to adhere to the law, militarized policing organizations become an unstoppable and despotic force. The very ideologies that give them life become obsolete, as do all existing laws that protect citizens. Central American dictatorships backed and armed by the United States government in the 1970âs built police forces, outfitted them with military gear, and allowed them to brutalize and kill with impunity. The murder or incarceration of progressive democratic leaders who resisted this transformation was sanctioned by United States intelligence agencies.
For white Americans to think that their race makes them immune to police brutality is a mistake that cannot be afforded. Central American urban mestizo masses ignored the genocide of hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples. They saw these massacres as not their problem. Today we all suffer militarized suppression. Racial division was our greatest weakness.....There are more means to turn the situation around available to Americans than Central Americans have had.
But militarized police are not the only problem. Since the 1980's, government, from Washington D.C. to the states and cities, has been poisoned with inept and cynical politicians who play a racist card to keep Americans divided. And this is a necessary part of a militarized state equation. In fact, 21st century United States politics follows a developing path in place in much of Latin America for half a century. I call it the Latinamericanization of the United States. This path includes politicians selling society to the highest bidder, eradicating laws that protect civilians against poverty, disease, job insecurity, and police brutality....
The police...guard the great fortunes and economic interests. Everyone else must suffer insecurity, poverty, prison, and sometimes, random death.
The question is, does the average middle-class white American have the will to do what's needed if it means having to stand right now with minorities and demand an end to the abuse by unaccountable, overly aggressive, and now heavily militarized police?
I wish I could say I think the answer is yes....