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Carolyn Baker: America As The Jackson Jury

America As The Jackson Jury

by Carolyn Baker

As I watch the puerile, middle-aged miscreant walk away unscathed from one of the most media-hyped trials in the history of the nation, a particular word reverberates in my mind: collusion. The word which literally means co-illusion implies the sharing of an illusion, the silent, secret handshake between one party and another which condones the evil of one of them and thereby proliferates and exacerbates the evil. Once again, America has colluded in evil-a pattern now as old and familiar as our proverbial apple pie.

First, America has colluded in the "acceptability" of child abuse. Everyone knows that Jackson is a pedophile just as we know that O.J. killed Nicole and Ron-the late-night comedians who spew endless jokes about it, the friends and associates of Jackson, the legal pundits whose blather has supplanted any semblance of real news on the twenty-four hour cable "news" networks. We pride ourselves as a nation that our children are, for the most part, not lying on grass mats in Sudan, covered with flies, displaying distended stomachs. WE take good care of OUR kids. Yet like individual family members who know that daddy is molesting all the kids in the house, we keep silent-terrified that the family might fall apart, and then what would we do? For God's sake, don't speak the truth about the dirty little secret; make jokes, protect the perp, and it will all go away.

Meanwhile, Jacko will dangle more infants from literal or psychic balconies, he will make a comeback album which will gross more money than all his others combined, and America will wait with bated breath for the next scandal that the networks serve up to prevent us from seeing any real news while blow-dried fundamentalists belch incessant bile about family values.

But wait. Imagine the outcry if young girls, rather than young boys were being molested by Jackson. Would the jesting of late-night comedians have reached the same fever pitch? I doubt it. Would the jury have similarly yawned and acquitted? Would media be spinning the atrocities, yes I said atrocities the same way? Why doesn't the abuse of boys in this nation incite the same outrage as the abuse of girls? Are we carrying some kind of ancestral memory of ancient Greece and Rome where man-boy pedophilia was not only acceptable but virtually a pre-requisite for status on the part of adult males and education and military training on the part of young men?

Apparently we are since the Franklin Coverup of the 1980s involving the Bush Sr. White House ( and the more recent Gannongate scandal involving the Bush, Jr. White House from earlier this year (, not to mention the attempts of former cardinal and now pope, Ratzinger, to thwart the prosecution of sexual offenders in the Catholic Church (,6903,1469055,00.html ).

Months ago, I predicted that Jackson would walk. Why? Because some part of us knows how pervasive child sexual abuse in America really is, with conservative estimates of females abused hovering around one out of three, and conservative estimates for boys molested approximating one out of five. I, for one, believe those numbers for both genders are highly under-calculated. Yes, it is probably worse in other countries, but so are numerous other crimes, and we should all be nauseous by now with the cowardly, childish comparisons of America's sins with those of other nations. We have no problem protesting when our own children argue, "But mom, he cheated on the whole test; I only cheated on two questions" yet we incessantly compare America's "civility" with the rest of the planet in order to prove ourselves guileless. Enough already! Instead, let us ponder the Jackson acquittal attended by voluminous grim statistics regarding child abuse in the United States and face our own demons for a change. Yes, our prisons are filled with sexual offenders, but they are generally poor nobodies, not pop-rock icons with inestimable fortunes.

Like siblings in a sexually-abusing family, some part of us always knew that our nation was/is not guileless, not only in regard to sexual abuse, but with respect to its incalculable crimes and their cover-ups in which we have colluded through our denial and willful ignorance.

Some part of us knows that the United States government has been trafficking drugs and selling them to our children in our neighborhoods for over fifty years; some part of us knows that drug profits are regularly laundered through the American stock market which increases the value of our pensions and 401K's and gives us low interest rates; some part of us knew that Richard Nixon had no intention of stopping the Vietnam War when he said he did; some part of us knew that he was 200% responsible for the Watergate break-in and cover-up even before he was investigated; some part of us knew that organized crime, in league with politicians and presidents, were looting our own savings and loan institutions in the 1980s; some part of us knew about an illegal war in Central America and that it was being funded with drug trafficking; some part of us knew that worse than the stains on Monica's dress were the bloodstains of Ron Brown and Vince Foster; some part of us knew that 9-11 and the cover-up of the last four years was/is an inside job; some part of us knew that the 2000 and 2004 elections were marinated in fraud and that the Bush family has never won anything legitimately in any of their lifetimes-and that we will probably never see clean elections in America in our lifetimes; some part of us knew that we were being lied to, duped, and deceived with manufactured, synthetic, and thoroughly contrived "intelligence" as justification for invading Iraq. Yes, some part of us knew that war is a breeding ground for the atrocities of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and that systemic torture cannot be eliminated by putting a couple of soldiers in prison for a few years; some part of us knows that the American economy is a dilapidated locomotive headed with terminal velocity toward a brick wall, and some part of us knows that before, during, or after that catastrophe, the end of cheap and abundant oil will collapse Western civilization as we have known it.

So will we, like the members of Jacko's jury, go on our merry ways, feeling proud that we have "done our jobs" for the system, laughing at the pedophilia jokes, rocking out to Jacko tunes, and anticipating the celebration of the birth of our nation in three weeks? Or, are we willing to pay the price for knowing what is so because just as in an abusive family, when the truth is not spoken, everyone, and everything sinks more deeply into abject horror?

We are not responsible for what we don't know, but we are responsible to get to the bottom of what we suspect. We are responsible for our own knowledge base in an era where information cries out to us from every centimeter of our lives to be investigated and analyzed more deeply. And yes, we are thoroughly responsible for the smugness and denial within ourselves that keeps us from doing just that.

© Copyright, Carolyn Baker, 2005

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