Sunday, January 9, 2011


I'm not near a TV and haven't been since yesterday, so I've been getting the news from the internet. But this whole tragedy in Arizona is bringing up deep emotional memories of what they call "the 'sixties"—meaning the late 1960s early 1970s—when this country seemed to be breeding violence and assassinations.

I was a so-called "revolutionary" (according to some news reports, my term was "radical activist") taking part in all kinds of demonstrations and actions, as well as making speeches and writing articles and columns, and even running for office (on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket).

A lot of my anger was against the racists still promulgating their hatred and violence toward anyone challenging their domination, mostly in the South, and toward our government and its representatives, like LBJ after he got us mired in Viet Nam, and especially Nixon and his Republican minions who made that situation worse and created the whole atmosphere of "enemies" lists where only those who supported his policies were "true Americans" and those who didn't were "traitors" (I had seen the same thing as a kid during the McCarthy era).

The deaths in the Civil Rights struggles here and in the war in Viet Nam, including of people I knew, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the refusal for a long time of the conservative media to cover any anti-war activities any way other than sensationally, all further fueled my activism.

But when those students were murdered by National Guardsmen and police at Kent State and Jackson State et. al. I wrote articles and columns in leftist papers saying that some rhetoric from the left, that I may not have used but I did show support for (i.e. from The Panthers, The Weathermen, etc.), had contributed to the atmosphere that made those deaths possible.

Even if it's clear that almost every time these tragedies happen it is someone on the left or the center who is the victim and someone on the right—usually a pawn of more powerful figures and organizations—who is the one responsible.

It is difficult not to rage against the rightwing leaders and spokespeople and media stars who act as if their provocative statements conflating anything other than their positions with treason or lack of patriotism or contributing to the demise of "real America" and our personal freedom—including Glen Beck's pernicious lectures about how Obama and his fellow Democrats intend to subvert the dollar as our national currency and are actually aiming to destroy this country, and others like him from Limbaugh to Bachman and Palin et. al.—and always exempt themselves from any blame for the continuing string of violent attacks on government officials and offices.

In every instance—from the guy who killed that guard at the Holocaust museum in DC to the guy (they all seem to be guys for now, while the women, Palin et. al., seem satisfied to just provoke this behavior) who shot those cops because he believed Obama and the Dems were coming to take his weapons away to this latest cretin and his possible accomplice—there have been no apologies from those on the right who provoke this kind of behavior by telling their fans to "lock and load" and use gun site images to mark the Democrats they want to see defeated (both of which Palin did) or declaim that the simple two party politics that has been going on in this country for decades and basically centuries will somehow lead to concentration camps for rightwing white "Americans" etc. if one party, the Democrats, are allowed to hold offices they have been voted into!

It is clear that there is little or no remorse from many of these people—no matter how many messages of condolence they send—because they don't change their message or their behavior. They should be held accountable. And so should their corporate sponsors.   

1 comment:

JIm said...
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