A St. Louisan's Insider Info on Ferguson
A few years ago, I volunteered with a local political campaign in St. Ann, Missouri, one of the towns near Ferguson.
While there I learned quickly how the police chief of that town, like most others in the northern suburbs of St. Louis, had basically created a small police state where no one could challenge him. He was good friends with the local judges, and the mayors and town executives of each of these municipalities are nearly powerless (one of the effects of a politically fragmented city like St. Louis, where the Mayor only had executive authority over a small chunk of the region). Arrests, arbitrary tickets, and harassment were normal.
Most of these towns were once places where military men came back from WWII to take their little piece of suburbia, and most of those men and their families left once black folk, hispanic folk, or vietnamese folk relocated to the area.
The ones that didn’t leave were the most stubborn of the military men or their sons, and they inherited the positions of power traditionally handed off to white men since they were the only ones left.
I remember walking the steamy streets of St. Ann with that political candidate as we went door to door, trying to convince people not to vote for the candidate in the upcoming primary that’d been hand picked by said police folk. When we saw police cars on the busy streets, we hid indoors until they left, and when they appeared on the quiet streets how we took off running. In the end the candidate lost the primary by eleven votes, though it appeared that several dozen dead folk had voted in the election for his opponent.
I don’t remember if it was this candidate or if it was one of the staff or one of the volunteers who said this, but at the election party I heard someone say “We need a federal investigation here, and in O’Fallon and Spanish Lake and Ferguson and everywhere, because this isn’t a democracy or republic or anything, it’s a police state. Elections don’t work, the law won’t work… we need an investigation in here. That or, hell, a revolution maybe?”
Something I’m not sure outside commentators, media personnel, and talking-point pundits realize is that these protests and riots in Ferguson are all that there is left to do. They’ve tried everything else to get rid of the white men who want to live up to the (inherently racist) masculinity their fathers imbued in them. This isn’t just about race, though it is about race. This isn’t just about the haves and have-nots, though it is about that too.
This is the revolution, basically.