By ROYCE WHITE
Recently I published a letter to Stephen A. Smith. Regarding the traitorous attack on Kyrie Irving and his resistance to vaccine mandates. Despite the adversarial nature of the letter, it started off with my accounting of a few existential questions. These questions were not directly explored in the contents of that letter, but asking them had aroused my curiosity. I did a lot of thinking about existence over the next few days. Then a question came to me in the middle of the night: If spacetime exists on a continuum, is it possible the inner voice we call conscience, is really our future selves speaking to us? You’re probably thinking — “Where is this going and what in God’s name does it have to do with AT&T?” Please be patient, I’m getting there. The question was sparked by a dream I’d been having that night. In this dream, a huge bomb had gone off. It wasn’t a blow up the street corner type of bomb; this was a full blown catastrophic event. In the dream I could actually feel the bomb’s heat and see it’s force, but strangely it never made a sound. After waking up and asking that question about spacetime, it dawned on me… The next great war has already begun. The first bombs already went off. And they too, didn’t make a sound.
The next great war is one of information. We’re in it right here, right now. The silent bombs that dropped were cancel culture, censorship and quid pro quo’s. Not the fake kind you all tried to shove down our throats when Donald Trump was in office. These ones existed long before that, they are of your making. First, we must never forget or understate the significance of Dr. Li Wenliang. A Chinese ophthalmologist from Wuhan hospital, who sounded the first alarms about Covid in December of 2019. He was summoned by Wuhan police and told to stop making false claims about Covid on the internet. Dr. Li Wenliang was a hero and now he’s dead. He succumbed to the virus a month later at the age of 34. After his death, an official inquiry was done and he was exonerated by the Chinese government.
Some people would use this tragic tale to reiterate the potential severity of Covid-19. Because Dr. Wenliang was only 34 years old, his death is certainly a potent example. However, I look at Dr. Wenliang’s story and see the danger of big government. I see the tendency for it to be arrogant and unjust. When government and politics become hegemonic toward public health and safety, you have serious trouble. Was Dr. Wenliang not a medical professional? Was he not a healthcare provider and scientist? What does the way he was treated really tell us? What does it tell us about the state of science, the role of government and the eminent danger of censorship?
Before we go any deeper, I want to share that I’m recovering from being sick this past week. Which has given me the time to write this latest series of letters. As shocking as this may sound, it appears the common cold still exists. Who would’ve thought? I may not have believed it myself without the sore throat, cough, low grade fever, plus a few negative Covid, Strep and Influenza tests to tell me so. The natural immunity antibodies from my mid-August covid infection continue to hold up. Praise be to god. Having time to study and write has been fruitful, although resting at home is always a mixed bag. Not being able to train is frustrating for an athlete. It’s a sacrifice made in the interest of my team. I surely wouldn’t want to get anybody sick at the gym. There’s always a fight coming up, and training camps are tough enough without the complication of a respiratory virus. Remember before the pandemic, when people just fought through the common cold? Medicating the symptoms and going on about their regular routine? I can’t tell you how many times a teammate of mine has coughed, sniffled and sneezed their way through a practice. I’ve seen it on every basketball team I played for. Such was the norm and even celebrated as admirable before Covid-19. It was an unspoken testament of an athlete’s commitment and reliability. A new etiquette has hit me each morning as the alarm goes off. I have to remind myself — though only a common cold, it’d still be irresponsible to pass around. I think there’s an important nugget in there somewhere about cultural norms. Or I could just be high from the Benadryl. I’m okay with having a heightened viral conscience, but there are plenty of norms emerging from this pandemic I’m absolutely not okay with. Mainly that it’s open season on freedom.
II: War Room
To frame the conversation properly, I have to go back to the earliest days of this pandemic and how they unfolded for me almost 2 years ago. It all started with one man; Steve Bannon. A person I had heard of and researched a little. I knew he always got a lot of flack from both sides of the political isle. In retrospect, that should’ve been my first signal to look deeper. One day in November 2019, my best friend forwarded me a PBS Frontline interview, “Zero Tolerance”. The initial takeaway was — once again the machine had misrepresented a man; shocker. At least PBS had the integrity to let him represent himself in a complete interview and not narrated soundbites. Bannon was more than grossly misrepresented in most places though. He was razor sharp on issues like economic elitism, career politicians, the rise of China, etc. I remember thinking to myself, “Now I know why they hate him.” I’m no stranger to being smart, bold and on the machine’s bad side. A few months later in January 2020, I was researching the Uyghur Genocide and came across the War Room YouTube channel. This channel was live streaming an episode called War Room Pandemic. Steve Bannon was the host.
The show was gritty, off the cuff and had a resounding honesty to it. I knew Bannon was a legit thinker, but this was a whole different ballgame. He was basically doing breaking news. The episode was covering a coronavirus outbreak in a place I had never heard of called Wuhan. The Chinese government was reportedly enforcing lockdowns that had gone from 3 cities to 15 and reached an area of 50 million people. So much from this show ended up being true, I won’t go over it and instead just provide the link. The highlight of it for me, was an old saying that was modified by Bannon. It’s still etched in my memory — “You may not have an interest in the pandemic, but the pandemic surely has an interest in you.”
After it was over, I went looking for a coronavirus story I surely had missed in the mainstream news. But every outlet was still talking about the virus in buried leads or nonchalance. After seeing the discord I began to watch War Room everyday. I had to keep watching. The information was so bold, controversial and real time, there were only two possible outcomes — Bannon be discredited in an embarrassing fashion or mainstream media delegitimized to the point of desperation. A desperation that would surely yield must see tv in short order. Something inside me said, this is going to be an issue that sets the stage for society’s next chapter. Over the month of February I tracked the developments of coronavirus through War Room and compared notes with the mainstream. Then in early to mid-March, the pandemic hit home. What was originally an outbreak of Covid-19, clustered on America’s coasts, had now spread across the entire country and reached Minnesota. Our first orders of shelter in place were emerging.
It was surreal to see the situation escalate as it did from late January. I knew something was very wrong with the official narrative. That roller coaster had only just begun. To put it in perspective, Bannon’s show is called War Room Pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) didn’t even declare the outbreak a pandemic until March 11th, 2020. In late January US public health officials were saying the outbreak was not a threat to the average American citizen. Bannon rang the bell on this pandemic. Which the machine now parades as justification for new world order.
III: Red Pill Blues
After being cornered into a trust fall with The State during shelter in place, one day everything changed. George Floyd was murdered and the world found itself on 38th and Chicago, in south Minneapolis. The nation saw civil unrest. The world saw civil unrest. Communities took to the streets. Covid-19 had taken a deep breath. People were upset, inhibition was thrown to the wind and the lockdown had come to a screeching halt.
In the wake of Floyd’s murder, I led several of the largest peaceful demonstrations in Minneapolis. Looking back now, I’m certain people didn’t really understand what my organization was protesting. Even the people who participated in the demonstrations. As a speaker during public events and thought leader behind closed doors, I talked about corporatocracy, technocracy and the subsequent loss of sovereignty. The State’s monopoly on violence, delegitimized by corruption. The rule of law, undermined when lawmakers are so partisan and clearly owned by special interests. These were ideas I had already given much thought to and written about in my letter to LeBron James. A letter I had just finished in the summer of 2019, entitled, “Epistle to the King.” I understood the scope of governance had become too large and untenable. Whether it was a coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan or the decisions of a police officer in south Minneapolis — The State was overextended and naturally had become negligent. George Floyd was the chickens coming home to roost.
In my letter to James, I also tried to convey the cultural importance of sports in America and an urgent need for athletes to lead a genuine movement. One where it’s leaders took real risks. Opposing Donald Trump hadn’t been a real risk. Actually, when doing a thorough audit, the riskiest social issues had been avoided. Namely China and The Uyghur Genocide, but more as well. Something had kept Black America gridlocked in perpetual turmoil.
I condemned all the grandstanding from ineffectual Black figures and the persistent subversion of competent people like Fred Hampton or Malcom X. So when the time came, my mindset was already geared toward action. I knew my perspective could be useful during the uprisings. I knew strong people needed to contribute. What I found instead was a blindspot in my own worldview. The double edged sword of neoliberalism was much sharper than I had imagined.
From my time being a renegade in the fight against the status quo, I had lost site of The People. They had become an ideal to me more than a firsthand experience. In the places I’d been advocating for Mental Health over the past 7 years, there wasn’t really any friction of ideology. Mental health was a bipartisan issue and as a spokesperson I was treated as such. It’s not that I didn’t know a real friction of political and social ideology existed — But where was it in real time? I saw what I needed to see, but really wish I hadn’t. The people showing up to protest and volunteer were woefully uneducated about institutions such as The Federal Reserve. Or they were apathetic toward the overall corporatization of politics and communities. Many screamed “the whole system is guilty”, but the overall spirit of revolt focused on policing and Donald Trump, as scapegoats for racial animus in America. Meanwhile the zeal for the LGBTQ and Me Too movement was palpable. It was so prevalent, many conversations on the ground at the time, carried their signature. Before long people were deviating from revolution altogether. Contention was often centered around which people should speak at what events, based on their identity. The circumstance of Black men like George Floyd became tertiary. Gossip and scrutiny about the sexual pasts of Black male leaders flooded the airways. It became a trojan horse to question the “safety” of women at demonstrations. Eventually there was a call to remove many Black men from participation altogether. Inclusion and intersectionality were coming up every other day. Once again resistance had devolved into reality TV. Not unlike the state of politics and political commentary.
I understood exactly what was happening — The liberal machine had activated the purest form of racism there is. Rising up on the backs of Black people for it’s own political benefit. At the height of injustice, we were nothing more than propaganda. Black men had become commercialized hashtags; mascots. Black women were merely tokens of oppression. Both of which are very useful in the ongoing war of politics in America. I rejected this game and proclaimed that Black men must lead. For doing so I was called a sexist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, cisgender, toxic male. My response to these detractors was fuck off. Black men will rise up! Neoliberalism had tried to take a piss on George and I wasn’t having it.
READ FULL ARTICLE at Royce White’s Substack page.