Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball

The grotesque spectacle of Georgia’s final execution of Troy Davis may have been politically useful to the pretenders to the mantel of Black leadership, but in the end the misleadership class proved useless to Troy. “My last words would have been to spread out, break those ranks and let Sharpton, Barack and Jealous know, no more show time for you and the God you keep praising as all ‘capable’ when he can’t keep me from the poison.”

Troy Anthony Davis and Useless Leadership

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball

Amy Goodman used his death like CNN used Desert Storm.”

Not long after the 4-hour additional torture imposed on Davis by the Supreme Court, and after the final word came that Troy was dead, I got a phone call from an angry friend. He began by asking, “what is the value in electing or investing support for a leadership that cannot stop even this? What is the value in investing support behind these so-called ‘movements’ that benefit useless leadership more than the people they claim to be moving for?” And then he said, “Troy was definitely a better man than me.”

Word?” I asked. “That’s my word,” he said. He took a breath to calm himself and went on. “First of all, his last words were praise to his supporters and all those gathered around the world. Then he had words of encouragement for the family of the cop he didn’t kill. No way man. I would have been of no use.” That line struck me. “What do you mean, ‘no use’?” I asked. “Everyone knows he didn’t do it,” he went on. “Everyone knows it and yet they all use him while he dies in convenient fashion.” “Convenient fashion? That’s deep my man,” I said. “Did you watch the coverage on Democracy Now! last night?” he asked. “Every minute,” I said. “Then you know what I mean. The cop’s family got polite support from a man from whom they gained closure, the activists got praise from a man they were too soft to save, and Amy Goodman’s people got love for doing what they should have been doing for at least 10 years.”

You saw their coverage right?” “Yes,” I said. “Then you noticed how it is on the night Troy is killed that they gave more attention to his case than during the entire 20 years of his incarceration. And how often do they talk about the associated issues of mass Black imprisonment?” “Ok,” I said. But he went on, increasingly angered, “What you saw was spectacle. Amy Goodman used his death like CNN used Desert Storm, you heard her say, ‘and we are the only ones here covering the moment.’ Just like CNN she was locking up 10 more years of support from the Left as the major media.” “She didn’t do some good with coverage?” I asked, sounding like the people I usually refer to as soft. “Whatever good she did was useless to Troy and the rest of us. And look what she did the next day; went right back to her real top stories, Israel and Palestine and mainstream journalist book writers.”

Make them storm trooper cops need that gear they brought to the rally.”

But that wouldn’t have worked with me,” he went on. “Because I would have used my last words to tell them to go home, go back to the stories you prefer. I don’t want to become a fund-raiser for you. You didn’t tell my story enough or in ways to get your audience to get me out, I am about to die anyway, so to me, you are useless.” “In fact,” he said, with even more venom in his voice, “I would have told everyone gathered out front, everyone listening to whatever media was covering me, that they should go become a problem, the kind of problem that keeps me alive or gets me out. Make them storm trooper cops need that gear they brought to the rally. Tell them that I won’t be the only one to transition tonight. But don’t use me to add to your phony activist credentials. If indeed we are ‘all Troy Davis’ then we all should be prepared to die tonight.”

He noticed that my silent discomfort. He sensed my fear of my own politics. But he was angry and relentless. “My last words would have been to spread out, break those ranks and let Sharpton, Brock and Jealous know, no more show time for you and the God you keep praising as all ‘capable’ when he can’t keep me from the poison. Your God is useless. We don’t praise the same one, if we praise one at all. My God wouldn’t let me and mine suffer while others use that suffering to enrich and reposition themselves.” “I feel you,” I said. “And it was even more infuriating to listen to them apologize for Obama’s inability to inter…” I could not even finish the sentence.

Obama’s uselessness was so evident and emblematic” he interrupted. “A Black president, a Black attorney general, a Black supreme court justice, two Black men on the Georgia parole board, all the Black civil rights glitterati and still nothing could be done. It is final proof, if we still needed it, of the uselessness of what is called ‘leadership’.”

I agree but only wish I had the courage to say it myself.

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball. On the web go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore and is the author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). He can be found online at: IMIXWHATILIKE.COM.

Direct download: 20110928_jb_TroyDavis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34am EST