Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The audacity

I don't know if I have anything coherent to say about the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, just some bleak impressions from watching the incredible coverage by Democracy Now, live on the scene in an area cordoned off by the cops, for six hours in a row! Really the coverage was phenomenal, and especially the way Amy Goodman allowed herself to become emotional – distraught, even – in a way that we rarely see when she's in the studio. It's possible that she didn't have a choice – did the cops even allow food and water on-site? I'm not sure. But still, the way she didn't back down, didn't try to smooth things over, really added to the somber immediacy of her coverage.

A few other notes: the prison in Georgia where they perform executions is called the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, can you believe the doublespeak? More doublespeak: the private companies charge of performing the execution are called Rainbow Medical Associates and CorrectHealth, Inc. Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort bravely called on hospital staff to go on a general strike or a sick-out to prevent the execution. When Davis was granted a reprieve, so that the Supreme Court could look over his case, guess who was the “Justice” in charge? None other than Clarence Thomas, the ultimate symbol of complicity in a system that wants you dead. Wanted Troy Davis dead. A legal lynching, said one of his lawyers.

Apparently Clarence Thomas even grew up in Georgia, not far from the prison where, in order to make sure that they can kill you, they put you on suicide watch ahead of time, then give you a physical to make sure you are fit enough to be executed, offer you a last meal before the drug cocktail ends your life. Now we live in a country where a black man in power can ensure the death of a black man without power. Troy Davis got to choose whether he wanted Ativan added to the three drugs in the cocktail. Troy Davis did not request Ativan.

I am Troy Davis. That's what the T-shirts said that protesters were wearing. We are all Troy Davis. That's what they were chanting. It's hard to say, because I'm aware of the privileges I have that he did not, the privileges that keep some of us alive while others are murdered in the name of God and country and “justice” and patriotism and some hideous thing Obama calls the audacity of hope. The audacity. The audacity. The audacity.

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