This Land; Gary Clark Jr (Musical Interlude)

This Land; A Musical Interlude with Gary Clark Jr

by O Society Feb 25, 2019

Having an ongoing discussion with several of our O Society readers and writers about American Exceptionalism aka “Celebrating other people’s accomplishments as if they were your own.”

Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes it is not so good. Like most things, the sword has two edges; sometimes it cuts the “enemy” and sometimes it cuts the wielder.

Won’t get too deep into this subject in the written form now. There are a few links at the end to essays which sparked the ongoing discussions. For now, let it be said, we all know, we all know.

That’s right. We all know that everybody else knows about it too.

We have this sense of it. We feel it. Somewhere, on some levels of our consciousness, both collectively and individually, we carry the white man’s burden as Americans.

And this burden is the knowledge: Personally, I didn’t kill, rape, or enslave anyone. I am not guilty of these things as an individual. It wasn’t even my own ancestors, who came over on a boat from Czechoslovakia to pick cotton in Texas after they landed in Galveston.

No, I am not responsible directly for the genocides. Yes, plural.

But I know, in my heart of hearts, the stories I was told as a child about Indians sitting at picnic tables, joyfully exchanging stories with Pilgrims, eating KFC corn on the cob at this event we call “Thanksgiving”… this is bullshit.

It’s all bullshit. We all know it.

This is the bottom line: The narrative we were sold, about Native American Indians having a seat at the table, being a part of the family, it is lies. It is revisionst history written by the victors.

Truth is Andrew Jackson intentionally gave these people blankets infected with smallpox, folks. That’s biological warfare right there. Weapons of mass destruction. Choose your own marketing term. We still put Jackson’s whip-cracker ass on the $20 bill, didn’t we?

Yes, I don’t care if you are “not comfortable with this discussion.”

Actually, I do care, I want to make you uncomfortable. Like me. I am not comfortable. Can’t sleep at night.

This is when the change happens, do you see it?

Because that’s what the narrative is. Marketing. Lies to comfort us, make us feel special, the opposite of what we did to the natives when we herded them onto reservations, removed their religion, took their world and threw it away like so much shiny object driven garbage.

Yes, I am not personally responsible. I wasn’t alive then. I never cracked a whip, and I never hurt no one. But I did benefit. I know it. I live on land stolen from natives, worked by Africans, built through mendacity and cupidity.

I know. I carry this burden. And my words are “stop the madness.” Stop killing your brothers, be they in Venezuela, Yemen, or Vietnam. Stop it. Stop killing THEM and taking their shit from them so we can add it to the white man’s pile.

Yes, I am personally responsible.

I can do that much to make it right. Stop it. Now. Stop the American Exceptionalism which covers these crimes. Clear away the wreckage of your presence and your past.

American Exceptionalism, you cannot transmit something to others you haven’t got yourself.

Love thy neighbor as thy self. Practice what you preach. Make amends, throw down your resentments, listen to your heart of hearts speak… softly. It gently reminds us, “We, the People, first and foremost, are, all, people. We are all passengers dying on the same, sinking, ship. For the sound of hoofbeats – the Four Horsemen: Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair – is upon us.”

For all else is but a boy, all alone, whistling in the dark to lift his own spirits, to keep himself company, like so:

Uh, yeah

Paranoid and pissed off
Now that I got the money
Fifty acres and a model A’
Right in the middle of Trump country
I told you, “There goes a neighborhood”
Now Mister Williams ain’t so funny
I see you looking out your window
Can’t wait to call the police on me
Well I know you think I’m up to somethin’
I’m just eating, now we’re still hungry
And this is mine now, legit
I ain’t leavin’ and you can’t take it from me
I remember when you used to tell me

‘Nigga run, nigga run
Go back where you come from
Nigga run, nigga run
Go back where you come from
We don’t want, we don’t want your kind
We think you’s a dog born
Fuck you, I’m America’s son
This is where I come from

This land is mine
This land is mine
This land is mine
This land is mine

Up ’till the sun comes up

~ Gary Clark, Jr

(header image: Sugar Shack by Ernie Barnes)

A Vision for You

The American Dream is Killing Us

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Delusion of a ‘Non-Racist’ America

Malcolm X on the Media

A People’s History Of The United States – Howard Zinn

Is Anti-Intellectualism Ever Good for Democracy?

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