We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, that among these are the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776...
Have no faith in Constitution...
lyrics from the song "Spirits In The Material World", sung by The Police
I'm trying to think how long I tolerated the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith, before ejecting the DVD and placing it back in the case. I think it was somewhere around the 30-40 minute area. The last thing I can remember was this man accepting a full-time, no paying, intern position, while his living conditions greatly deteriorated, causing internal strife within the family, and ultimately leading to his wife leaving he and his son behind. He also spent the course of a year homeless while he pursued his quest for "happiness."
Today Chris Gardner, the protagonist of the movie, is touted as some type of shining example of "initiative", or as conservatives say "pulling up the bootstraps" and all that mumbo jumbo. Personally, I saw the movie as another scapegoat of avoiding the rights of the people upon its' government, which is to insure justice among its citizens, by using media to persuade the ignorant masses that access to the basic necessities is a "privilege", and not a right.
What if this guy was unsuccessful in his pursuit? Would we have a movie entitled "Ni**er, Have You Lost Your Damn Mind?!" ? How many of us have been chastised or questioned for "quitting our day job," to follow our dreams, and pursue this ever-elusive "happiness"?
Looking back on this piece of propaganda now, and how it upset me so much, I think about the title itself and what it entails, and I think about the omission of the other "unalienable Rights" not mentioned in the title, which to me are more important than this "right" of the "Pursuit of Happiness", a vague "right" which was declared at the expense of the genocide of Native Americans, and the multitudes of African slaves who were exploited to the utmost degree while a few European immigrants sought their slanted interpretation of this pursuit, and to fulfill this "manifest destiny".
No Right to Life, and definitely no Right to Liberty for them. So don't even bother mentioning happiness.
Today when I look at this nation and its pursuit of happiness, I think of the constant propaganda campaigns by some liberals used to persuade people to be more concerned with legalizing certain drugs and certain lifestyles, same-sex marriage, instituting transgender bathrooms and gentrifying areas the local or state government neglected, forcing the current residents to flee due to the inability to afford high rent and property taxes, while neglecting what this nation seems to be doing to those who don't have access to the basic essentials of life itself; food, clothing, shelter, general health care, and so on.
Yasmin Nair, an LGBT activist, spoke last year about what she felt was the real intention behind this push for same-sex marriage.
At the same time I see some conservatives denying people of colors' Right to Life, defend the killing of unarmed Black men, criminalizing the poor, justifying mass incarceration and disenfranchisement of Black men, using this so-called War on Drugs and the profits generated from it, legalize mass exploitation of people through banking systems, using Big Gov to fund their imperialistic endeavors, inflate prices upon the populace, and demonizing other governments and beliefs by accusing their way of life as backwards and barbaric in an effort to assure no one would look for alternative ways of life.
In all of this furor, these "Rights" endowed by Creator, as the Declaration claims, seem to look more like privileges to those without any political voice, means, and definitely no media to articulate their concerns.
And BET and TV ONE do not count as Black Media...and definitely not OWN...so don't begin to kid yourself.
Deep in the heart of Texas, more people on food stamps are being "re-orientated" to get back into workforce, obtain jobs, or to get "better paying" jobs, in an effort to make themselves "self-sufficient". Recipients are being sent blue sheets of paper which state that it is a requirement for those on food stamps to look for work. This scheme requires a collaboration between the State Department of Human Services and the Texas Workforce Commission.
In this program people are being required to submit a certain amount of entries to businesses every week for a number of weeks in order to keep their food stamp benefits. Those who are working, but not working a required amount of hours are also being placed in this program as well.
In order to sell this, propaganda, or PR was used, and you know the usual culprits; racial anecdotes of Black people and their "treacherous" ways of manipulating human services, selling their food stamps for money to buy drugs, abusing their Section 8 privileges by allowing uncertified people to live with them, and so on. This propaganda perfectly fits the analysis given by Mumia Abu Jamal of how the impoverished are portrayed in America as possessing "character flaws", or a "defect of the spirit".
While many may think this orientation process is admirable, the reality is that this scheme's ultimate purpose is to reduce the state's' "burden" of having to provide access to decent nutrition to its citizens, a "right" or "entitlement" to the citizens of the state. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of those on food stamps are not on it due to lack of employment, or of substantial employment, but the inability to afford sufficient nutrition for themselves and their families.
But when the masses of people hear the constant rumblings in the media about LaQuita and her 5 children by 4 different men, the tendency of Americans is to welcome these "reforms" presented to the nation as a way to get rid of this "welfare state", or as Bill Cosby put it once, a "culture of poverty".
Edward L. Bernays, the late psychoanalyst and nephew to Sigmund Freud called it "The Engineering of Consent."
So forget the statistics that show most food stamp recipients in America are White, you can't use them as the boogeyman, that won't go over too well. You need to reach deep down and pull out the most sinister culprit to remove people's entitlement to the basic necessities of life. Sorta like when "radical Islamists" are used to remove people's entitlement to privacy.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, under this program those considered able to work but unable to find "gainful employment" are subject perform "community service". So now not having a job sounds like a misdemeanor. Just like the Black Codes. And you know what that lead to.
No wonder so many disenfranchised and poor youth either take the grimy road of hustling, or voice their displeasure of the way things work here in America, such as lyrics like these:
F**k your American Dream
That sh*t's not real
It's really more of an American Scheme
Cuz ' When I think of the American Dream
I think about
Student Debt, Inflation, and how my Ancestors screamed
Look the corporations really hate you
and almost every institution is tryin to rape you
But they don't care...
lyrics from the forthcoming song "Like Us", performed by Knoxie-Ty.