2013 Douchey McDouche Bag of the Year
We’d had quite an interesting rogue’s gallery of douche bags in 2013.
Politicians, criminals, kidnappers, rapists, athletes and liars – ooh everything that requires the use of our soothing vinegar and water spritz.
There were lying ass athletes like: Lance Armstrong, Mante Te’o and Blade Runner Oscar Pistorious; dick-tators like North Korea’s Kim Jung Un and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad; racists like Paula Deen; and our favorite targets – politicians. We douched with those chameleon-like animals from the US Congress to President Barack Obama and even Toronto’s crack loving Mayor Rob Ford.
In the end, only two challenged for the coveted top prize of 2013: Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro’s dead ass and the US Justice System, which allowed murderous George Zimmerman to walk free.
While I was certain that Castro, that barbequing, merengue playing, kidnapper and rapist had a healthy inside track, votes from our panel were deadlocked and we had to go halfway around the world to break the tie.
In the end, it was our shady American legal system; the epitome of dual standards, that won the 2013’s douchiest prize.
Yep, when a Florida jury channeled what was on the mind of Georgie after he pumped a round into the chest of a unarmed teen it led to outrage, protests and for our purposes exposure of the double standards in the American legal system that has time and time again protected a certain kind of aggressor rather than an obvious victim.
Doing so was an indictment of the US Justice System’s double standard and earned it the 2013 Douchey McDouche Bag of the Year Award.
It’s actually ironic that our esteemed legal system should take the top prize during the salad days of an alleged “post racial America,” but 2013’s biggest story – the trial of George Zimmerman and the murder of Trayvon Martin put the inadequacies of our justice system on parade – again!!
We are all familiar with this age old story.
“White” man with law enforcement backing meets unarmed black teen.
White man is armed, but scared.
Black teen ends up dead.
Black teen is blamed for being the aggressor and white man is acquitted of all charges.
It would only be shocking if it didn’t happen every few weeks, but in America, this story only gets on our site because it’s unbelievable that it would happen over and over again, regardless of year or region.
You would think, just once, the shooter would be brought to justice or that the black community wouldn’t be seen as over sensitive for its call for justice, but the Zimmerman verdict seems to follow some pre-planned script that has been replicated over and over again in this country.
To those naïve enough expect justice in what has proven to be a shadow, bicameral justice system, the Law of Averages would support you naiveté and numerically that elusive “justice” would be found by the blindfolded lady with the scales, but that simply was not the case last year in Florida.
A colleague and legal professional reminded me that Florida as a state has a very unique justice system replete with the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law and is certainly more the exception than the rule.
However, I would argue that Florida is indeed a special case, but for African-Americans, the double standards that exist in the American legal system, have defined our experience in this country from the time the first African stepped off a boat to the present.
That’s why in July of 2013 when the jury handed down the Zimmerman verdict it was Déjà vu all over again and it definitely didn’t feel soooooo good. Because such repeat behavior cannot be a coincidence, it must be ingrained in the mechanism that has been our legal system
Simply put, the schizophrenic way Americans have perceived those of African descent has been a problem with the country since it was founded and nothing has been done to change a dynamic that’s over 400-years old.
You Don’t Understand The Size of It
First and foremost, slaves came to the Americas when the British colonized the “New World” mostly to grow tobacco and to find more mineral wealth.
After the colonist “liberated” the land from England’s King George by way of the Revolutionary War, It wasn’t too long before those seizing freedom as Americans began thinking about the existential meaning of individual freedom. As the traitorous continental Congress carved out its Declaration of Independence, they also pondered the rights of slaves.
Declaration author Thomas Jefferson, himself a Virginia slaveholder, wrote the abolition of slavery into the original draft of the document. However, as the original Congress pondered treason and the prospects of defeating the strongest military in the world, its wealthiest and largest landholders felt the slavery issue should wait – especially given that giving up slaves and land would theoretically bankrupt the South.
Under threat from mostly Southerner land barons, who grew most of the British cash crops, like tobacco, the abolition of slavery was removed and history moved forward.
Despite themselves escaping tryranny the leaders of this new nation set a course for their own brand of tyranny even though they obviously knew it was wrong. So begins the American tradition of legal schizophrenia.
After successfully taking the colonies from England, the Americans began to build a nation with slave labor just decades before the practice was outlawed throughout much of the world as immoral.
So what to do with these slaves, who were mostly African and essential to the growth of the fledgling nation?
Because citizenship is just too much to expect, America channeled its inner schizophrenic and just kept it moving.
One of the first polarizing laws written, which shaped the way America would co-exist with its burgeoning black population was the “Three-Fifths Compromise” of 1787. Generally, because slave states had white landowners with hundreds of slaves, the concept of slaves counting as an actual person was not going to happen.
The Constitutional article, established that if slaves were counted as actual people, it would impact representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College. It would also impact the way in which landowners were taxed.
Ironically, because slaves obviously couldn’t vote, legislatives delegates opposed to slavery said only free “people” should be counted and slave owners of course wanted their chattel to count against their actual population numbers. The compromise allowed for the slave pop to be counted by three-fifths.
In what would probably be one of the first tone setters for American society, the compromise allowed humans to be not only further marginalized as free labor, but fractionalized them into legally less than full humans in this new land.
Okay, that was a long time ago, but as slavery was abolished throughout the world around 1800, not only did 19th Century Americans continue to shape its view of how Black American’s were viewed and dealt with, but in doing so, created the double standard legal system concept that has endured up until today.
As America snubbed its collective nose at the world and continued to increase the country’s slave counts, more would have to be done to conceive of the sub-human class which was flourishing.
With the exception of Vermont, which outlawed slavery in 1770 before joining the American colonies, northern states of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey all were out of the slavery game by 1805.
As defined by the Mason-Dixon line in Maryland, a nation divided against itself stood and grew during the 1800’s. However, as slaves and masters mixed genetics and slaves sought freedom to areas north, new laws were needed to continue the growth of the nation. These laws, which defined the plight of African slaves continued to build the tradition of a legal double standard that has remained self-evident to the present.
In 1857, slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom, as well as that of his wife and children. Scott, a slave in Missouri, spent time in free territories in Illinois and Minnesota and therefore theorized that he should be considered free.
The US Supreme Court shut Scott’s suit down by a 7–2 vote against him, finding that neither he nor any other person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States. In fact, his temporary residence outside of a slave state would only cost his owner money, as Massa would lose ownership of the legal property he owned in a slave state.
The Dred Scott decision set in motion the hypocrisy of slavery in an alleged free Democracy. A few years later the dissension between north versus south and the election of Abraham Lincoln led to the Civil War.
However, following the bloodiest war in US History and a north victory the concept of two sets of laws for white Americans and black Americans continued to grow into a reality. With the help of new President Andrew Johnson, the concept of two separate Americas was formally established with the creation of the Reconstruction era Black Codes and Jim Crow laws years later.
In fact the whole separate, but equal thing caught on and one could argue that the combination of limited access to a de-humanized population combined with a law championing separation did irreparable damage to all Americans and set the baseline for our current Jekyll and Hyde justice system.
Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 looked to put an end to the overtly racist system that still allowed open segregation in public places as well as poll taxes and IQ testing of Blacks interested in voting.
To the naïve, such a monumental law would quash all evidence of injustice and finally level the playing field in our society by dismantling a Jim Crow system that had existed for almost 100-years.
That was years before the deaths of unarmed shooting victims like Eleanor Bumpurs, Michael Stewart, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and so, so many others.
Ironically, in 2013, it was that remaining vestige of days long gone by that seemed to haunt America, when a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of shooting an un-armed man to death.
When Zimmerman’s defense team refused to use the newly minted “Stand Your Ground” law that allows armed Floridians to strike back with “great vengeance and furious anger” it appeared to some that new arguments about one’s ability to protect themselves would have to wait and “justice” would have a chance to live another day.
However, without the new argument being struck, as a society we seemed to trip over the oldest one we have. Are there still two justice systems in this country or is it just another left-wing conspiracy theory?
In reality, in 2013, during the “Age of Obama,’ may have been the best time for this long overdue conversation and the Zimmerman trial seemed to provide the answer.
With the beating of Rodney King as a backdrop and the acquittal of O.J. Simpson seen as juxtaposed legal context, the trial began in the summer with more fanfare and speculation than had been seen in more than a decade.
The Prosecution’s case seemed simple.
An armed man shot and killed an unarmed man after employees of the police department had ordered the gunman to stand down. On its face, it’s a straight forward slam dunk one that can only be screwed up by human interpretation.
The Rabbit is Two Faced
The Defense, which seemed oddly at ease, seemed to have the hard case, arguing how an unarmed man could be seen as an aggressor in an altercation while a gunman.
Most of us couldn’t understand how Defense Attorney Don West could lead off his argument with a joke, but maybe that’s because he knows this country and how that laws are shaped. Maybe that’s why these two attorneys seemed to be proceeding as they were playing with house money.
The O’Mara/West Defense team knew they didn’t need a newly minted law, all they needed was the same justice system that let the likes of Dynamite Bob Chambliss walk free after bombing a church and killing three little girls.
The same system that acquitted the murders of Emmett Till in 1955; couldn’t find the assassin who killed Medgar Evers for more than 30-years, never managed to convict those responsible for beginning the riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Rosewood, Florida and allowed civil rights activists Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney to be arrested by police and released to and killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964.
No, the Defense just needed the legal system to “do what it do” and subtley invoke its traditional double standard or at least raise a reasonable doubt.
So on a Sunday, when most weren’t paying much attention, the verdict was released, as was Zimmerman, who was acquitted of manslaughter and found not guilty of second degree murder.
Where the verdict may not have been surprising by American standards, it at the very least was douchey and the latest train to hitch onto a locomotion of legal disappointment experienced by Blacks since Plymouth Rock first landed on them back in the 1600’s.
All the protests that followed for the next week couldn’t seem to wash away the stench of douchiness that wafted over the land after “Georgie,” was released and allowed to resume his life.
As America searched its collective soul for an answer, President Obama tried to bring comfort to the many mourning the loss of Trayvon Martin and those somehow cheering the release of George Zimmerman.
Obama, the former Constitutional Law professor, addressed the nation as the reaction to the “surprising” verdict continued to split the nation along traditional racial fault lines and further split an already divided nation.
Obama explained the vigils and protests as a reaction to the African American experience with the U.S. Justice System.
The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
– President Barack H. Obama
The ruling was disgraceful to most Americans, but by the design of our legal system all that had to be proven was that Zimmerman was scared, felt as though his life was threatened and reacting in self-defense.
Ridiculous to us laymen, but very legal, by way of our schizophrenic justice system – sheesh!
They say justice is blind, but while it has also been hypocritical for as long as it has existed, it wasn’t until last year that it got our designation as “douchey.”
So here’s to you American Justice System – you are our 2013 Douchey McDouche Bag of the Year. Not like it will change anything and of course we respect your search for “truth and justice.”
Let’s just hope next time it doesn’t mean the release of someone, who since leaving prison, has had as many run-ins with the law as Justin Beiber.