Saturday, July 9, 2016

An Alternative to Screaming

We have too many guns. The NRA is no longer functioning as a rational organization, and is instead acting as a single issue shill for a right that does not exist to trump all others. We exist in society, and our society is much more densely populated and much more diverse than it was 240 years ago. There are many more chances for interpersonal friction, and it is far too easy to resort to a gun when these encounters arise. We need to make this harder. We need to somehow make people see the humanity in each other in the instant before rage or ignorance or fear triggers reaching for a firearm. We need to do better at keeping weapons out of the hands of people who are aggrieved, unstable, violent, murderous. We need fewer guns, and we need those guns still around to be held responsibly.

We have too many racists. We don’t need a wall, we need privileged fuckwit blowhards to shut their traps and learn some empathy. We need to understand the perspective of people who have lived in fear, or resignation, or exasperation in their own home, who the system was rigged against for (nearly) all of our country’s existence, who still face governments and political parties that do their damnedest to take away their vote and their voice, who have many more good than bad, but are still referred to as thugs or worse in “respectable” society. Black lives do matter. It needs to be said, because for far too long we’ve behaved like they didn’t, and that is unconscionable. 

We have an irresponsible media. In times that call for frank discussion and reasoned debate, we give over an ungodly amount of airtime to spectacle and screaming. PBS and NPR can’t shoulder this burden alone, we need Fox and MSNBC and everyone else to understand that there is duty above profit in the profession of news, and it’s well past time for them to answer the call. 

We have a dysfunctional politics. At the national level our Congress won’t understand that their job is to behave like adults and work with people that aren’t a part of their particular tribe to accomplish what our nation needs. Many of our leaders are beholden to moneyed and powerful interests as opposed to their full constituency. In several states the notion of fiscal responsibility and long term planning is farcical. But by blowing dog whistles and kowtowing to idiots they try to maintain power, just adding powder to the keg for their own greed.

We have an apathetic citizenry. Liking something on Facebook isn’t political action. “Throw the bums out” isn’t research. Supporting the troops is fine, but even better would be demanding their engagements are chosen wisely and judiciously. Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the President of the United States. In no sane world does that happen with an engaged public. And voting in the presidential election and nothing more isn’t affecting where the biggest problems lie; midterm, state, and local elections are of huge import.

We’ve got a fucked up relationship with the police. Cops are too often put into the position of “service of last resort”, forced to deal with the preponderance of guns, the stratification of the economy, the segregation imposed by historical policies, the inflammation caused by media rhetoric, the loss of governmental services inclusive of mental health treatment, the criminalization of benign activities, and so much more. They are not experts in all these fields, they do not receive training sufficient to deal with all these issues, they are often understaffed to perform the job safely, but the vast majority put on their big girl/boy pants and do their best. We vilify them for doing their job, and we demonize them when they screw up. Yet they are simply humans doing work that is unbelievably hard, mentally and physically. 

Yet the police have a fucked up relationship with themselves. I get the blue line. I still agree with it. I’ve seen enough media circuses and political agendas to know how easy it is for some to throw others under the bus, and cops are easy targets for many reasons. But goddamn, if you’ve got an asshole amongst you who’s going to screw up in a bad way, and they’re not going to be made accountable through the avenues the rest of us are subject to, then it’s on all the brothers and sisters in blue to make sure it’s dealt with properly behind that line, and before the shit goes down. 

That's all for now. I'm tired. And sad. And angry. And hoping to be hopeful again, sometime soon.