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Sunday, December 16, 2012

GUNZ IN AMERIKA




Saturday night I rode with friends to look at Christmas lights for the kids. In the vacant lot across from Glade Creek School is a computerized light show set to the sounds from an FM radio station. Everybody loved that. The surprise was so few houses lit up for Christmas. It makes me wonder, since 75% of voters in this county vote republican. This tells me 75% of the county's population pays attention to Fox "news," Limbaugh and the rest of the wingnuts of the right. Makes me wonder if the absence of Christmas lights has to do with Fox's War On Christmas. They rant and go on about a war on Christmas by liberals (of course) and at Fox they're the only ones doing it. Fear being the product Fox pumps the American working class up with to keep the working class passive and working against itself politically, brings me to recall a quotation from William Casey, CIA director with Reagan in 1981, "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American people believe will be false." We're half way there, the republican people in lock step subject the rest of us to their parrotry like there's something in it besides disinformation.

Again and again we get more news about somebody deranged shooting children in schools. It's become such an epidemic I've wondered if this has something to do with American karmic payback after slaughtering the continent's population with guns, disease, and serious, relentless oppression of any kind, and don't forget the near extinction of the buffalo to white men's rifles. Now that the surviving native population is subdued and corralled in concentration camps over a century, policed by the FBI, extinctions continue at as alarming a rate as gun violence in America, 10,000+ deaths this year by handgun. Every year. I can't help but see our national murder rate as anything but karma for how this continent was taken from its people. The background is the arrogance of the white man. And we American white people have become the most arrogant people on earth. The French once claimed the title, and the English. Now it's our turn. I have to say that in what time I've spent in Europe, I learned what it meant that an American can be spotted a mile away. It's in how we walk. We waddle like penguins. Europeans lean slightly forward when they walk. It was really strange returning by the Charlotte airport, a huge public place filled with people doing the American waddle. The arrogance comes next after you see the waddle. It's the We're-Number-One television football mind.

The arrogance evidently comes from our popular isolationist mind jacked up by military conquests, albeit over people of color in impoverished, defenseless countries. Self-examination is restricted to what Nixon and Agnew called the "effete intellectuals." Nobody watching television pays attention to the intellectuals, people with their noses in books, people who think about something beyond paying the month's bills. The Charlie Rose show where he interviews people who wrote books is late at night on PBS, "educational tv," an oxymoron. In this time when we perform for others instead of think within, anything with subject matter that requires paying attention is boring beyond tolerable. The American inability to listen has become as epidemic as the arrogance, may be a symptom of the arrogance, which, here in America, we direct at each other. I can hear someone I know saying, "I'm not like that!" Exceptions abound. I'm not talking about every individual, but social trends I've noted in my lifetime that became ways of life. I say 75% of voters in the county vote republican. On the other hand, 25% don't. I'm one of the 25% and some of the people I know are too. Not all teenage girls affect the Britney Spears, Barbie, look, but enough do with pride to make it a notable trend.

Every time I say something about "we Americans" I rebel within, but choose to override it for the sake of brevity. Our social influences tend to be toward sameness, and expectations lean toward sameness. Yet we tend to be radically different individuals huddling together in small groups of people we talk with and live our lives with, afraid we're crazy, because we're "not like everybody else." Beyond our small immediate circle of family and friends, we enter the world of the unknown, all those people doing the best they can, not to bump into each other. Then we get breakouts of somebody on a rampage to hurt, kill and create mayhem. I hear people talk about our psychiatric system, how it needs some attention. In the early 1980s the Gipper, the great icon of republican chicanery, cut out funding psychiatric help for the poor, creating overnight the American phenomenon of homelessness. It's the people who can't take care of themselves put out on the streets, because our society has no provision for them. So-called Christians hate them. All that little bit of funding went straight to the Pentagon. In the guns and butter likeness, we're way overdone on guns and the butter gets thinner every year.

We the collective American people have a cancer that is becoming fatal. The cancer is racism. I've been seeing quotations from Lincoln on facebook saying USA will only be broken from within (not exact words). We're braced against any possible external enemy. We don't want that energy turned inward. No force can put a stop to a surprise mass slaying by seeing it in advance. Not in Japan. Not in China. Not in Norway. We can call it a sick society, but that doesn't answer anything. It's a free society with a whole lot of people and a whole lot of promotion of killing on tv around the clock. And everybody has guns. How do we stay free and brace against surprise hits from within? It looks like these insane suicides are being done by otherwise intelligent, seemingly somewhat rational people. That one guy in Colorado who shot up the movie theater didn't even kill himself. I know he wishes by now he had. Who knows? Maybe he gets off on the fame. Surely his biographer has appointments for interviews. I'm actually afraid for the United States of Amnesia, as Gore Vidal called it. Our government doesn't solve social issues, ever. The churches don't care. Individuals send money, but it goes to somebody's bank account of free money, or keeps charity bureaucracies funded. We're at home and at work, powerless to help or change any of it, the news driving home our absence of individual power every day.

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