Terrorism rears its ugly head again


This time it was in a mall in New Jersey state.  We were fortunate no one was killed except the terrorist, but he leaves behind a thousand or more on the scene people who will never be the same and a society that is losing this war of attrition on its collective psyche finds itself unnerved again at how unsafe ordinary activity has become.

shoopA 20 year old young white man using his brother’s firearm decided to terrorize the citizens at Westfield Garden State Plaza because, some say, he wanted to die.  What’s troublesome is the way in which he chose suicide….by scaring, frightening, terrorizing Americans.  He probably didn’t consider himself a terrorist; most white people don’t and that begs the question why don’t they?  I think I found the answer

They (white males) didn’t start out mad. No, they were driven crazy by the sense that the world had spun so far off its axis that there was no hope of righting it. Underneath that sense of victimhood, that sense that the corporations and the government were coconspirators in perpetrating the great fleecing of the American common man, lay a defining despair in making things right. And under that despair lay their tragic flaw, a deep and abiding faith in America, in its institutions and its ideals….. they believed that if they worked hard and lived right, they, too, could share in the American Dream. When it is revealed that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you work, that dreams are for Disneyland, then they morph into a tragic American Everymen, defeated by circumstances instead of rising above them.

In the near–ghost towns of America’s factory cities, white workers seethe into their beers, wondering where it all went wrong—and how it all went to hell so fast. Perhaps more menacingly, some of these obedient men have now been replaced by violent men, who lash out at their spouses, while their sons learn their lessons well, as they drive through suburban neighborhoods looking for immigrants to beat up, and even to kill…..

The white working class and the white middle class have rarely been so close emotionally as they are today; together they have drifted away from unions, from big government, from the Democratic Party, into the further reaches of the right wing. Together they listen to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. And together they watched Brad Pitt initiate Ed Norton into “Fight Club,” searching for something— anything—that would feel authentic, that would feel real. Middle-and working-class white men—well, they just are beginning to actually understand each other.

Add to this mix belief by far too many that Democrats, government and America’s first black President are intent on taking away their guns along with their  money and redistributing their wealth to those who don’t deserve….to those who they fear…..to Americans who they consider a threat to their very existence, then you can see why and how America’s white males strike out in ways that are reminiscent of terrorism. Yet because we don’t label these acts of murder and mayhem what they are, there is no need on the part of anyone to denounce them…far from it.  In fact to do so with an emphasis on the method of terrorism has been vehemently opposed by people on the right because it strikes too close to their notions of gun control.  So we are stuck in a cycle of violence, some say it is as American as apple pie, and terrorism and has been the case for most of our existence as a Nation, our biggest threat is ourselves.

 

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American media’s steady decline


It’s amazing how history sometimes repeats itself.  Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC reminds me of the Phil Donahue firing which happened just before the last Iraq war, but without war drums beating so loudly.  Olbermann, love him or hate him, there was almost no middle ground judging by many of the comments I’ve read on the topic but I respected him for saying things that many given the same pulpit were afraid to say and that’s saying alot.

American media’s decline however BEGAN with the Phil Donahue firing and the media’s willingness to become a “stenographer” for the Administration in power.  Judy Miller et. co. were the waterboys/girls for an administration with imperialistic intent in mind and objective journalism went right out the window.  Of course, you could make the case for journalism’s demise occurring even before that, extending to the days of William Buckley’s association with the CIA and others, but we’re a shortsighted Nation that rarely thinks beyond the last debacle in our history, so let’s leave it at Iraq.

I’ve read where many people decried Olbermann’s personality, arrogance, etc. but those same people most likely tune in to Bill O’Reilly, Hannity, et.al who display an arrogance that makes Olbermann look like a pussycat in comparison, so was it his condescending personality or what he said that they detested?  Indeed, it appears America can no longer stand dissent even when it’s principled or factual. Juan Cole has a pretty good take on the Olbermann departure that you can read here.  I especially liked this line

It seems Olbermann is too extreme for US television. But Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, now they are mainstream. What universe could that proposition be true in? That of cranky old white billionaires. And television news is owned by them. Not by you.

which is why I’ve said repeatedly, citizenship journalism is much more worthy of your time and consideration than anything you might find on cable TV.  For example, do you think anyone now on television besides, perhaps Jon Stewart will say this

Hardly!  What America needs is as steady a droning voice for ‘the rule of law’, adherence to the principles of republican democracy as they are getting from the voices of hatred and racism that have taken over America airwaves.  Only then can one really “decide” because they will have had the ability to choose from this or that…something not available to the consumer at the moment.  I lament the departure of Olbermann…I liked him and linked to him several times here…but there are still many good citizen journalists whose voices have not been silenced who also deserve your time and attention.  Please read, listen to what they have to say.