They Shootin’ — did you care to look?
Our electeds are quick to offer thoughts and prayers instead of thoughtful policy, when tragedy strikes. When the perpetrator of a heinous act is of foreign descent, or has a darker complexion, they quickly advocate for the urgency in building walls. Terrorists or prefaced with the buzz (divisive) phrase “radicalized Islamic” us the right way to label and demonized a segment of our global community. The only solution in sight, in their eyes, is ostracism. Extreme vetting is the safest (for us) route to our shores. Yet, did they see any of the rally’s held for this president? Did they hear the radically-fueled chants of “Lock her up!”? How about the guy on “their side” who shot up a DC restaurant? Did they hear the suggestions from a candidate of the presidency of the United States of America, who condoned violence amongst his followers — even offering to bail them out? How about the, now, president’s ridicule of the leader of the venerable American intelligence community. He condemned his fellow american and staffer before foreign leaders, who would only do the same if they were defecting or seeking refuge in a foreign land.
Win, Win, Win — No Matter What
These same electeds calling for unity today, cared less about it leading up to November 8th. I doubt they’ll care much about it as they seek votes to dismantle healthcare, civil rights or other policies that should have more measured & bipartisan appeal. Candidates win praise and elections by allowing increasingly horribly divisive behavior. Children would be expelled. Employees would be fired if this behavior was carried our in those spaces — but, it’s OK for a state house (cue Maine Gov. Paul LePage or GA State Senator Frank Perdue) or the White House? Really? As long as their gerrymandered constituents are happy, they don’t really care about the rest of us.
In Sadness, We Find Unity(?)
Folk the world over are quick to selectively mourn a horrible act. We have shed tears and hashtaged all of the places we “like”, while atrocities and deaths occurs in places that people try to flee daily. We, especially Congress, are experts at being magnanimous in moments of headline-worthy crises. But, where are they for the long haul? Again, over 1,000 die, monthly, from guns alone, and no legislator is trying to get to solutions to the killings. The president even critiqued the London killers for using knives, so guns weren’t condemned. Who in right mind does this? With the multitude of murders in this country, what would we think if people extremely vet us or banned us from coming to other shores for refuge? One member of congress proclaimed that “America punches back”, as his response to the “Ballfield Ambush”. Unfortunately, no one asked him to explain who America will be punching when America is the perpetrator. When will they move to push for national unity without a violent prelude?
Selective Scare Tactics
But, when the perpetrator is domestic, and fits the true demographic of the most dangerous among us — white, male, American — we don’t look to ostracize or extract them from this land. We can pretty easily predict the profile of the loner who shoots up a place, but there is no call for deportation or questioning how the perpetrator might have been, radicalized. It doesn’t seem to matter that hundreds of hate groups, with pretty radical philosophies, exist in this land — without congress or the president trying to root it out. In fact, they are extremely welcoming to those who now proudly carry the “alt-right” flag or other hate endorsers — no cape or head-cone required.
It Wasn’t He
No, Bernie Sanders didn’t personally radicalize the latest mass shooter; neither did the Democratic Party or progressives. But, it is abundantly clear that the shooter had no love for Republiteas. Does that mean that Sanders and others who have complained about the Republitea politics are also guilty of emboldening his action? Defenders of Republiteas have already relegated the shooter to being “another left wing nut job”. That’s not a flattering term, but name-calling is the way we characterize people now — thats what the president does, so its OK. Maybe he just suffers from RepubliteaPhobia.
Cheers and Jeers
When will electeds take the high road, like Senator McCain did, when supporters lashed out with lies and hate against his opponent, Barack Obama. Will electeds ever LOUDLY condemn hate of any type after the news cameras go away? Ohhhhh, they don’t want to lose those votes, huh? They are like the sad juveniles who fall in lockstep with a bully, rather than risk getting labeled as weak or a sympathizer. Hypocrites.
It’s ironic that the Alexandria gunman earns infamy by targeting the party that repeatedly supports the rights of civilians to purchase military assault weapons. From the evidence uncovered, it can easily be construed that the very electeds he aimed his anger — and gun — towards, were also those whose action/inaction helped radicalize him. An daily assault against folks moral fiber can traumatize people who are already vulnerable. So, I’ll argue that persistent assault against ones humanity can radicalize, too.
Face it, gun violence is real and too common in this country. But, if a horrible crime its not able to be connected to “terrorism”, Congress doesn’t care much. Even when their peers are victims (Reagan; Giffords; Scalise; our children), they deflect that at the time of the tragedy isn’t the time to discuss policy — and the “time” never comes.
Journalist Mike Barnicle, offered up the reality check on Morning Joe, whic electeds and others should heed. He educated the uninformed that across the river from the shooting in Alexandria, VA, lies DC’s Anacostia neighborhood. There, shootings/killings are more common than in Georgetown, unfortunately. (SIDEBAR: Thanks for the reminder @mikebarnicle and P.S. @Anacostia is a vibrant & historic community that is under threat of being labeled as dangerous, to devalue it so developers can buy it for pennies of its worth. This tactic is similarly used in other communities — largely Black & Brown. The community is devalued and then “reborn” by deeper pockets than the indigenous people have at their disposal, so they are pushed out. That, too, is criminal.)
And, like Georgetowners, Congress only seems to care about the violence that occurs against their own. People in Anacostia, and elsewhere, endure trauma daily, but this is new for a Congress that is tasked/hired to support ALL Americans? This is an American reality that they should never ignore. Their own has been shot again and they are already calling for more protection than they already have. So, Austin, Appalachia, Alabama or Anacostia will just need to make do. But, yay, Congress will be healthy and secure.
Over 1,000 Americans are dying from gun violence per month, in this nation, where they serve. That’s 36 incidents, daily, which evoke tears and shock and sadness. Does Congress know or care? Yet, the president talked about Chicago, although there’s violence beyond the gates of Mar-A-Largo as well. What has/is he doing about any of it? What is Congress doing about it — beyond the #thoughtsandprayers? How will investing in walls fix this? We aren’t very optimistic that change is in the air — we know better and we’ve heard it all before.
Making America Hate Again
This “shock”, expressed by some members of Congress, reflects their total disconnect with the realities of this nation. It seems evident that the ballpark shooter fired because of his dislike for a political group. Does that selective hatred rise above those who inflict harm on people because of their hatred against the victims color, gender, orientation, religion? Why have you, Congress, validated similar hatred by invalidating the rights of specific people through your legislation? Racial & religious hatred is on a dangerous rise and it, too, is accompanied by suggested and committed violent acts — where is Congress’ collective outrage behind that? The evil depictions of violence & demeaning effigies and signage directed at the Obama family was surely seen by members of Congress that snickered and said nothing to urge it be stopped. Freedom of speech they called it. Would they give constitutional cover to a Hitler of today? Because they do exist.
They don’t really care about us, do they?
The attempts to deny millions of people decent healthcare, while they receive the best care — that we pay for — further reflects their ambivalence towards their employers, the American people. Wondering how many shooting victims could lose health coverage under their proposed plans.
Silence is Consent
Congress’ silence on the vile conduct & commentary — from the top of their ticket, and from some of them and their constituents — has contributed to the denigration of common decency & respect in our land. “If the president can say/do whatever, why can’t we?”, some posit. The evil rhetoric & lies have risen to an explosion of violence that makes Congress shudder — why now? They should have been addressing all of this well before a gunman decided to respond in violence. If they came down from their ivory dome, they would know this. Our families and children have fallen victim before, and Congress did nothing. Our law enforcement have been victims — and perpetrators — and Congress does nothing. So, the better question is what will you do to get more compassionate, respectful and responsive people elected where you live? We can start by voting better — or voting, period.