Unless you've been living in a hole, you've heard about the escalation surrounding the shooting of an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Missouri. Things quickly went from bad to worse. A candlelight vigil turned violent, and police responses only seemed to add fuel to the fire. Our nation being what it is, pundits and ideologues quickly rushed in to stake their claim to argument of the day. That's not to say observations are bad, or that commenting on the situation is something new. Nor is it to say that all the comments or observations were off base.
Clearly the police had some bad reactions, in an age like ours when a growing portion of Americans are worrying about our eroding freedoms. No matter how you slice and dice, how things are perceived is 99% reality for most folks. So police going into a McDonald's and arresting reporters is almost guaranteed to look bad. And given the slant and agendas of most who would cover such events, no matter how violent the protesters are, any flaw in the reaction to the violence will likely be what is critiqued. Especially if the protesters are predominately African American reacting to the shooting death of an African American. FWIW, in our post-racial nation, the news has emphasized the fact that the police captain who, at this point, has brought peace back to the area is African American, as opposed to White. Thank goodness for MLK, huh?
Anyway, in all this, two observations from the bleachers leaped out at me, showing just how divided we are as a nation. One [please note, strong language with this post], I think, was a little more honest - if not brutally so - about what all this says about our nation. It has perhaps one of the most chilling observations I've read in recent months. Let's face it, we are no longer a United nation no matter how much B.S. we try to shovel. And this event, and the reactions it's brought out, just go to show. While I don't see eye-to-eye with everything, this article at least touches on some of the obvious shortcomings we have developed as a society.
The other article, here, demonstrates an almost drunken, blundering 'exploit whatever to ramrod the Agenda' approach that is so common today. In this, we learn that gun rights activists are likely racist hypocrites who don't have a clear desire for anything other than murder and oppression, especially if it's aimed at racial minorities*. Huh? True, gun control became one of the side topics brought about by the Ferguson debacle. But the racists slight? As I've said, calling someone a racist today would be like calling someone a Communist in the 1950s. It's a charge reserved for only those cases where we really know. And yet, in some weird way, this becomes a post so typical today: exploit any crisis or tragedy to malign the rest of the citizens who we've deemed appropriate to hate. The actual crisis becomes simply a convenient stepping stone toward established my supremacy over everyone else who is really to blame.
Anyway, I thought it odd, and yet all too common. We are no longer a United anything. And increasingly, I'm feeling that for at least a segment of the population, human tragedy and suffering are losing their importance unless they help me win an argument on the Internet. At it's best, that argument may be to point out something that is actually true. At it's worst, it will simply be to add to the divisions and the rot that is hastening our country's demise.
*As he usually does, reader TMLutas steps in and delivers a verbal spanking for the shameless inquisitorial judgement. TMLutas is a shining star on CAEI, his comments usually well thought out, fact based, clear and concise, even if I don't always agree. He and a few others stand out like a sore thumb there. Yet years ago, that level of discourse he demonstrates was par for the course on the blog. You could have expected his fine standards for discussion from any one of dozens of regular readers.