Sunday, January 9, 2011

A quick note about the shooting of Rep. Giffords

I am 33 years old. I don't know what this is like. A politically charged assassination attempt on a current elected official in my home country. None of my generation of American Youth has ever gone through this. Yes, Reagan was shot but that still is before many young people can remember and John Hinckley was just crazy, not politically motivated.

What happened yesterday, I've only read about it in books. The 1960s in particular seems like such a crazy time period. I close my eyes and remember what I have seen in old video clips and from old newscasts. I remember what I read about. Something seems eerily similar.

A group of people fighting for their civil rights and another group of people steadfastly holding out against them for fear that the America they grew up and in always known was changing rapidly. It was a time period where a young charismatic President was in office. He was a Catholic which at the time was a pretty scary thing for so many Americans. Not unlike that of a purported Muslim being in office (even if he's not).

Talks of peace when there was clearly still lingering war going on with the Communists scared the Right Wing at a time when the beginning of social change at home was already driving them into a frenzied fear. After two World Wars and Korea, war was all these people knew. Now we were talking about pulling our boys out of Vietnam, not invading Cuba and god forbid brokering a deal with the Russians?

I imagine the culmination of all of this combined with the fear that blacks were going to run rampant and take over was scaring the right wing white male into a frenzy. The difference is there weren't as many television outlets then and they still bought into the concept of legitimate news. Not completely unbiased mind you because Edward R. Murrow sort of broke that barrier. Rather it was fact driven using serious sources and strong journalistic practices and because of this it wasn't working off of talking points or purposely catering to a specific ideology.

Back then, instead of having Fox News peddle their causes to a much larger, easier to lead audience they used back room techniques. They joined the John Birch Society (somewhat representative of the tea party today) and used such groups to help spread their propaganda.

I look at America today and I see similar shades of a totally unbalanced, scary time period.

People can look back now and see the 60s with hindsight. We made progress and broke through on Civil Rights. Woodstock occurred. The Vietnam War resistance began and eventually helped end the war, even if it was many years later. All of that required struggle and even the sacrifice of blood and lives of leaders.

I can't imagine watching the television on November 22nd, 1963 and seeing Walter Cronkite read off a bulletin that my President had been shot and murdered. Or to hear the same about his brother Robert or Martin Luther King, Jr. in such a short timeframe.

I imagine that the person that I am now would have felt hopeless that America could and would never change or be allowed to change. Of course the case can be made that certain elements of the Government were behind each killing and of course one can clearly look at the elements of Government that would have been involved in pulling such a trigger and would see such right leaning elements as those John Birchers I mentioned before. To them and to the unelected and fearful, any progress at all was a threat to a group of people who had irrationally built up fear inside of them to believe that if they did not arm themselves and fight back.

So they did.

Imagine the feeling of those people that lived through that. Every day wandering around a world of political hopelessness and helplessness where you know you don't count in America. Your voices will be silenced.

Yet knowing this, they fought on and protested more. They stopped a damn war.

The dates may have changed but is anything really that different? We have our insidious fascist groups thinking they are arguing for political power but using fear to whip up the troops. They are preying on a group of people afraid of Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans and now Gays from taking over their world. They fear the President who looks different than them. They fear the changes to the Government in the form of Health Care regardless of what it might offer them in terms of positives.

The bullhorn is louder now. Fox News, Conservative Radio, the corporately owned Mainstream Media... they shout from the rooftops and are much more effective than the old backdoor whisper campaigns. The genius of this is they don't need insiders in the Government to do their dirty work. They can call for the armed uprisings against politicians all they want and wait for their sheep to do their dirty work and they can scream first amendment all day long. They know they can call the person a fringe nut and absolve themselves of their responsibility. They know nobody has the guts to call them out for what they've done. They'll never face charges, never be publicly shamed. And when tomorrow comes and they hit the airwaves, they'll move their target and start anew. They succeeded in taking out their enemy without having to lift a finger. It's all so perfect now.

I don't want to live in the 1960s. That time period is one of lost innocence. One where all the history books about how good America was started to show how inaccurate they were. Any real historian would laugh at the irony that we taught our kids how great our country was, by lying to them.

What we knew about America had been tied together with pretty wrapping paper and a shiny red bow. The bow was perfectly proportioned and you almost wondered how it got that way without a machine. Human hands can mold things into wondrous shapes if they are diligent at changing the form to fit their needs after all.

When we started unwrapping America: The Gift we start to see things we don't want to see. A murderous enterprise engaging in exactly what President Eisenhower warned us about. War for Profit. Killing to enrich military and corporate contractors.

Was there ever a legitimate target? Not so much. A vague threat of potential communism in Vietnam. A weak and moronic enemy in Iraq. A pretty pathetic government in Afghanistan and a leader of a terrorist group we never fully intended to capture (See: Nov. 2001 - Troops stand down in Tora Bora and Bin Laden escapes).

Lies. All of it.

Their job. To keep you scared.

We need war or they'll get us. Now let us loot your tax dollars and social security funds so we can redistribute money to our connected wealthy friends.

We need tax cuts or else more of you will lose their jobs or they won't create new ones. And these rich people need zero estate taxes or their heirs can't employ you either. Don't worry though, we'll make sure when our rich friends get that money that there is no regulation forcing reinvestment. Oh and you better believe we're not going to stand for closing any foreign loopholes that prevent our friends from paying the little bit of tax money they still might owe.

They kept people scared in the 1960s about everything and ultimately it was about money. They needed endless war. They're better at the game now and a tad bit hungrier. War is not the only way they figured out that loots the American Treasury. It's still the best way but not the only way.

So to keep you distracted they make you look at the changes in your life.

High Unemployment? It's not the corporate greed downsizing or outsourcing your jobs away, it's Mexicans taking your job.

Gay Rights? A new group of people that want to ruin YOUR marriage.

Welfare and Unemployment Benefits? Robbing from the hard working middle class and giving to the lazy poor people that want to leech off of the sweat and effort you put in every day. Oh and hey, they're almost always lazy drug addicted minorities that would rather collect welfare than work.

An attack 10 years ago? That could happen to anyone at any time, regardless of what we're doing to them overseas. So give up your constitutional rights about unreasonable search and seizure and we'll tap and record your every phone call and internet movement without a warrant. Oh and hey, those evil Muslims hate you and your religion and will force you to wear a burqa.

Christmas? Atheists and other non-religious people HATE your holiday and want to destroy it and while they're at it they want to eliminate the Baby Jesus from every being a part of anyone's life.

Sound familiar?

Whip up this internal terror in people and they'll do whatever you want. Including murder Democrats on your behalf.

So when you tell people that you constantly at rallies whip into a frenzy with eliminationist rhetoric that they need to reload and put target crosshairs on a Representative's district basically sicking the dogs on them, you're calling for a hit on that person. (Below: the images Palin tried to scrub from her website immediately after the attack)

Everyone called out this nonsense when she did it originally. The View denounced it back in March of 2010. Yet here we are.

My heart and thoughts go out to Rep. Giffords and to the families of each and every family member that either lost a loved one in that attack yesterday or had a friend or family member be senselessly wounded in it.

Regardless of what the media chooses to do with this info now, it's clear that the blood is on Sarah Palin's hands for this. Just as it should have been on Bill O'Reilly's hands when Dr. Tiller was murdered after he labeled the man, "Tiller the Killer" and aired the man's address.

But let's not kid ourselves here. These people know what they're doing and what results their actions are creating. They need to be held publicly responsible for what they have done and be shamed from the spotlight for good.

I don't want to experience the 1960s. Yet, yesterday sure felt like a small bitter taste of it.