“Sunlight is the best disinfectant” -US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)
Welcome to Cherokee County, Texas, the glittering jewel and Civil War relic of East Texas: Population 47,000 and where minorities still count as 3/5ths human. The sunlight of outside scrutiny has begun to disinfect that festering boil of public corruption. A place where Jr. High girls at band practice and women driving home from work are raped on the side of the road by police officers. Where infant molesters are sentenced to probation by the district judge simply for being related to members of the school district Board of Trustees. Where black men checking on their livestock at night are beaten while handcuffed by trespassing, spotlighting and disguised sheriff deputies. Where homes and buildings are burned and business owners are killed for insurance money. Where parole violators’ bond money is kept after a fugitive convict is let out the next day to kill themselves and a DPS Trooper.
Where an innocent black man, after watching his pregnant wife get tasered and beaten, can be put on trial while the arresting officer is awaiting federal prison for rape and retaliation. Put on trial simply to stave off a federal rights suit against the county for recruiting law enforcement with police brutality histories.
A place where female federal witnesses who go missing before a police officer’s rape trial are referred to as “drug addicted street walkers and prostitutes,” simply for making statements to the Rape Crisis Center and FBI. Where the steps of the courthouse and city hall are made distribution sites for illegal drugs, embezzlement and theft of public service- and when caught, the culprit is written off as never being employed or appointed. Where laws can be created out of thin air on one day, and penal code statutes completely ignored the next by the district attorney’s office.
After multiple arrests of their police chiefs, bailiffs, constables, patrol officers and sheriff deputies – and as many sitting in federal prison or under FBI investigation for civil rights violations, Cherokee County stands firm in its traditions of corruption and Klandestine [sic] activities. Cherokee County Texas voters not only accept it, they demand it from their elected officials, pastors, Postmasters, police, Kleagles and baby Klanspeople.
In customs handed down through the generations that only an East Texan could understand, their local newspapers are as content blaming little black kids for the failing TAKS test in their subpar public schools as they are fascinating their own children with Illiterate Civil War Alternative History. Namely that “the North invaded the South because the Yankees wanted our cotton crops…And a lot of black people fought in the Confederate Army, too, for States’ rights.” Not that succession, slavery and the Union’s severe response broke our young country into pieces. Printing white trash Civil War revisionism in local newspapers nearly every single week on how “glorious” the only war fought on American soil was for the 3 million citizens involved and 600,000 who died. Convincing their ignorant selves that their own farmstead ancestors, prior to the invention of penicillin, were eager to have their limbs shot off in “The War of Northern Aggression.” And that black people would have been content being kept as property for a few more centuries under the States’ Rights of the agrarian South. Convincing themselves that because their family trees never split [the county], they are entitled to as many taxpayer venues as their lily-white hearts and Rebel Flags desire.
Quite a backdrop for national business chains trying to generate a profit in a county that is now primarily minority owned and operated. Meanwhile, bitter and uneducated types continue to cling to racist mentalities of the Reconstruction Era; an economic period that passed Cherokee County, Texas completely. Companies are sued out of existence, their corporate mail and business calls intercepted by the same people sworn to uphold the law. And the few people who charge themselves with operating their county services are swollen with White Pride as they strangle the last drop of taxpayers’ dollars from the local treasury.
The laws of the United States simply do not apply. All the while feigning fundamental, even turn of the century Puritan Christian values as minorities and immigrant entrepreneurs are made the scapegoat for the county’s failing economy. Perpetuating their pre-1964 world, these good ole ‘Christian’ country boys/biddies, after leaving their Sunday night prayer services, eagerly doff their Sunday go-to-meetin’ attire and don their favorite kambric [sic].
Not in a 20th Century suit and tie do they honor dead Southerners on the county square or at family cemeteries; No Sir, tailor made Shell Jackets and militia uniforms with fake ranks and bayonets are more appropriate when posing for front page propaganda. Constantly trying to stir up anxiety for the local black people whose slavery lineage stretches further back than anyone else’s. Or as their community leaders rallying under Confederate States of America banner say: “If the sheet fits- wear it.”
[Rusk, Texas courthouse circa, Nov. 24, 2007 courtesy of the