One might be struck dumb over the recent slaughter in Arizona, if there weren’t so many such episodes nationwide that we’ve become almost unaware of them. These days, a high school shooting is almost commonplace.
So, the President has called for a moment of silence. I suppose we all have moments of silence, where we contemplate events or just let our conscious minds rest, but one must wonder at the efficacy of everyone, en masse, being silent. We might as well all hop around on one leg or wave our arms in the air in a display of useless energy.
It’s obvious, of course, that there is a dishonest nature to a silent moment: what he really means to say but cannot is that we should all stop for a moment and commune with a magical being; we should all pray for a moment and somehow that will help. But of course all the praying in the world will not take back the tragic act, nor will it have any more effect on the victims than waving our arms or hopping around on one leg.
One must suppose that although President Obama means well he is still in thrall to the magical thinking that permeates the country. When there’s nothing else that can be done then it’s time to trot out the pseudo alms of religious thought. When we’re frightened by the thunder and the bright actinic flashes, we can retreat into the cave and whimper and call upon the sky gods to make it all go away.
We should whimper. We should be afraid. We are being led into destruction by those clueless as to the nature of reality. No matter how well-meaning or well-intentioned they are, they still wrongly choose ineffectual solutions to serious problems.
In our vaunted War on Terror, it seems we have left out the worst terror of all: domestic terrorism. We can use pre-emptive war to attack anyone who might be a threat even though they have not directly threatened us, but we cannot seem to level any threat against those who live in our own country and who would terrorize us.
Whether skinheads or KKK or Hell’s Angels or evangelicals bent on the destruction of everything, we have no power over them until they’ve actually committed a heinous act. And sometimes, they can get away with it. Our previous President, along with his neo-con friends led us into an illegal war of aggression and he suffers no consequences for it, even though we have in the past treated such acts with death by hanging.
And we still prosecute the wars.
So take a moment of silence. And during that moment, think about Congresswoman Giffords, her aid, and those who were killed in this mindless act of slaughter. Think about how tolerant we are of those who would advocate violence, such as Sharron Angle who spoke of using our ‘second amendment rights’ if elections don’t go the way we like. What could she have possibly meant by that?
Think of Sarah Palin and the political capital she makes by posing as a “mama grizzly,” and shows off her vicious hunting skills, then uses crosshairs to mark the locations in the USA where someone must be “taken down” for the cause – in this case, someone who advocated and voted for health care. How could it all be more ironic?
It’s going to be a long moment, as you think of centuries of violence against progressives and left-thinkers. Think of Martin Luther King or Bobby Kennedy and the good they could have done had they not been cut down by crazies.
For there is an undercurrent of craziness in our country, and perhaps everywhere in the world. They never shoot the Michele Bachmanns or the Glen Becks or the Eugene McCarthys who would drag us further down. They shoot the progressives who are trying to pull us up from the mire of ignorance.