I’ve tended not to think that The Boondocks is as funny as an animated show as it was when it was a syndicated newspaper strip (particularly in the early days). But there’s something resonant, angry, and sad about Huey’s plan to break a brother in the cause out of death row on the eve of Troy Davis’ execution:
The idea is that the court system provides us with some measure of impartial justice, inspired and guided beyond our petty politics. But what happens when, as Emily Hauser wrote in The Atlantic, “a long list of legal experts have, in fact, come forward to say that the case against Troy Davis is far too thin to support the death penalty…The entire case against Davis is based on eyewitness testimony — and seven out of nine eyewitnesses have either recanted or changed their testimonies…There is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. Just the word of people who have since said that they were frightened into lying.” It is terrifying when a supposedly apolitical branch of government becomes clearly political, but in a way that leaves us no political recourse to respond.
We can protest Troy Davis’ upcoming execution for a crime he didn’t commit, but there is no mechanism by which we can guarantee the process be halted, no way to break him out of jail, no civil disobedience that would put us between his body and the needle that will deliver his lethal injection. Huey’s fantasy isn’t just hard to watch because it’s goofy. It’s hard to watch because it’s an illustration of our own disempowerment in the face of our own broken system.