Whose Law

Whose Law

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April 23, 2012

When my grandmother was a child in Mississippi, it was against the law for Choctaw children to attend her school. When my mother was a child, African-American children there had to use a separate restroom and drinking fountain. When I was a child, neither Choctaws nor African-Americans could sit at whites-only lunch counters.

During my grandmother’s youth, it was against the law for Canadian and American Indians in British Columbia and Washington state to hold Potlatch gatherings for the purpose of gift-giving, singing and dancing. Indigenous praying and worshiping in spiritual ceremonies was also against the law.

Today it is against the law for anyone in the United States to interfere with banks and other corporations, or even express disagreement with their rapacious practices. Simply gathering in public spaces in order to shame the shameless is now against the law. People who planned or participated in demonstrations protesting crimes against humanity have been imprisoned.

As austerity measures aimed at protecting privileges and disempowering humanity are enacted, any form of communication, organizing or expression of disagreement may soon be against the law. For those who don’t comply, civil rights and human rights will be withdrawn.

As the lives of children today are increasingly ruled by the law of greed, it will be on our conscience to see that the law of generosity is upheld. When we are faced with a choice that has such profound consequences, we will have to ask ourselves whose law we believe in.

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