“This type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries.”http://youtu.be/_VnvsGhUp84
If you’ve seen or heard President Obama’s remarks on the murders in Charleston, this was probably the line that really grabbed your attention. The visibly emotional Leader of the Free World sounded like a wounded and disappointed parent, scolding his 318.9 million unruly children – as well he should.
Ever since the prodigal pilgrims landed on the proverbial Plymouth Rock and promptly carried on the proud European tradition of raping and pillaging savages, it’s been one foul play after another. The Trail of Tears, the Transcontinental Railroad, the enslavement of millions of non-white people, the begrudging release of those slaves…I could go on. You would think that we here in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave would be eager to live up to that title, but you would be mistaken. As evidenced by the continual race and culture wars we as a society continue to perpetuate, we are far from Free and Brave.
You think America is the greatest country in the world? When some redneck neo-Nazi nut job terrorist can walk into Walmart and buy a gun, then proceed to shoot up a church – including three pastors (one of whom was an elected official) and six other totally innocent people, in what is just the latest in a trend of mass shootings, and just the latest in a trend of racially-motivated shootings…I think you need to think again. Not only was it a church, this particular church is an historical landmark in the narrative of the struggle for basic civil right by millions of people in this country, whose only “crime” was being born different from the Middle Class Straight White Man we’re supposed to revere.
This kind of thing connot continue to happen. This is the twenty-first century. When the president of the United States even admits that all the political BS will probably make real social change unlikely…there is something seriously wrong with this country.
You want America to be the greatest country in the world? Help make it a country where folks can go to Wednesday evening bible study, or go to the movies, or SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL, or walk down the goddamn street without fearing for their lives.
If you’re a praying person, pray. Then nut up or shut up. Put your ballot where your boca is and actually do something about it! This kind of problem is too important to fall by the wayside come election time. So what if some people are allowed to smoke pot or get abortions, or if rich people have to pay more taxes – Americans are being murdered by homegrown terrorists.
The only way to stop this is stark social and political change. Stricter gun regulations, more money for education and social programs. This kind of violence will continue forever unless we as a country step up to the plate and stop allowing our children to grow up to be ignorant, violent bigots.
We need a political and cultural revolution in this country! We’ll never cure the disease just by treating the symptoms. We’re so focused on who got sent home on last night’s Dancing with the Stars, or whether we should get the iPhone 6 or the Galaxy, that we’re losing sight of the world we’re living in. Entertainment and sports and technology – these are all very important things, don’t get me wrong. They’re a huge part of the American popular culture, and are things we should be proud of, as global leaders in those industries. We cannot, however, allow ourselves to become absorbed in these distractions to the exclusion of the rest of the world.
We are smarter than this. YOU are smarter than this. Even if you’re a bigot, you have no right to act on those feelings in a way that is harmful to others – and you owe it to yourself, your children, and your community to acknowledge that while you’re entitled to your opinions, they’re just that. Opinions.
For my progressive folks out there, you’re just as much to blame. Believing in the cause is a far cry from helping make change a reality. Voter turnout in this country is abysmal – a tragic consequence of a deeply flawed election system. In that respect, we have brought all these issues on ourselves. We continue to elect politicians who spend their campaigns pimping themselves out to the highest bidders, with zero thought for actually doing their jobs and protecting the interests of their constituents.
So here’s my challenge to you:
- Read and/or listen to the news for at least 30 minutes each for day for a week.
- Learn the names and policy records of your elected officials, from your local town council all the way up to your congressmen.
- Talk to the people you know. How do they feel about the world we live in? Do they do anything to change it? What? How? Why?
- Think about the most unfortunate person you know. Really think. How did this person get this way? Who let him/her down along the way? What services did this person not receive, at any stage in life, that could have made a difference?
If at the end of this challenge you’re not motivated to become more involved in fixing our community and our world, there’s nothing more I can do to help you. If it does get you thinking – wonderful!
Agree with me, disagree, argue, whatever – but please keep this discussion going!