Monday, February 19, 2018

Our Country Has Lost Its Mind!

Emotions are running high here in the Wild West where another mass shooting at a school last week took the lives of 17 students, and where everybody is being encouraged to carry a weapon because who needs their Jesus anymore when we've got that cold, blue steel in our pocket to protect us?

Our country has lost its mind!

Perhaps it truly is time to reconsider this 2nd Amendment thing of ours. I know that's a very unpopular thing to say but it's becoming more and more evident that we're not responsible enough as a society to continue with this failed freedom in its present form. But the cult of conservatism and the cult of the NRA and the cult of Trump won't allow for discussion on the matter. It's guns for everyone, even some suffering from mental illness, with little to no safeguards! Because of the Dickey Amendment (Republican legislation), the Centers for Disease Control isn't even allowed to study the problem of gun violence to help us gain a better understanding for why we're in this mess. To me, it seems obvious: we have a gun culture that has infected us like a cancer and the doctors who could save us are being paid to sit on their hands and do nothing.

The show, 60 Minutes, did a segment a little more than 2 years ago about smart-gun technology and how it could go a long way toward reducing the number of deaths by guns in our society. The smart-guns work in varying ways: they can recognize your palm print; they can recognize the squeeze of your grip, or they can unlock wirelessly through a special ring or watch that the gun owner wears. They're no cure-all but they certainly show promise toward reducing some of the senseless deaths caused by guns that we're seeing. So what's not to like? Apparently, a lot says the NRA. But anybody attempting to make these safer guns available to the public will have hell to pay because of the cult of the NRA.

I'm encouraged by what I'm hearing from several of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where last week's school shooting happened. If these students are any indication of the younger generation, I'm relieved, because my generation is failing us in so many ways.

Students across the country are formulating plans for a march on the 24th of next month. I'm supposed to race my bike that day but I'm considering canceling those plans and attending the march instead.

Some additional thoughts...

I remember how one of Trump's* mantras during his campaign for president was, "We're going to take back America!" I believe he's about to be shown the real meaning of that phrase next November. I'm hopeful that a blue wave of Democrats, spurred on by an energized youth vote will send a clear message that what's happening to our country is not acceptable. That Trump's* abuse of his position for personal gain, the rolling back of regulations designed to protect society and the environment, and the hollowing out of our country's wealth for the enrichment of a few is not okay. And it's destroying our democracy.

We're a country divided in ways I never imagined possible. And it's destroying our democracy.

Just as guns are a cancer on our society, so too is conservative media with their divisive, hate-filled, fear-mongering rhetoric that appeals to many who are only too happy to embrace it because it fits with their prejudices. I'm confident that historians will look back at this time in our country's history and lay the blame for this divide squarely at the feet of right-wing media. It's frustrating to watch so many people who are unable to see it for what it is: propaganda. And it's destroying our democracy.

Don't believe me? Watch Trump* and his constant cry of "fake news!" and his unquestioning followers who believe him. In their world, unless the news is presented from a far-right slant it's labeled "the liberal media" when, no, it's not -- it's the news -- it's what's happening in our world today but because it doesn't conform to their need for hate and fear to pedal it, it's not good enough and so it's discounted as being liberal or fake, or it's critical of Trump* and therefore it must be fake. We've got a large percentage of our population that can't discern right from wrong and they don't care because they've got their conservative media to reassure them that the only truth that matters is what they would have them believe. And it's a lie. And it's destroying our democracy.

All of our intelligence agencies agree that the Russian government meddled in our last election. It's not a stretch at all to say that in an election as close as this last one, their efforts elected Trump*. It's also the reason I will continue to use an asterisk after his name any time I write it. It's concerning that there are no efforts being taken by Trump's* administration to try and thwart another attack on our elections. There's nothing they can point to that they're doing to reassure the public that this won't happen again, and all of our intelligence agencies are telling us that the attacks are ongoing. Sure, our representatives have agreed to a list of sanctions against Russia but Trump* won't enforce them. Can you imagine if it was Obama acting this way and how conservative media would be reacting? Trump* can do little that's wrong in their eyes and we all suffer for their deception and their followers' ignorance. And it's destroying our democracy.

For all of our access to information and ways we can educate ourselves, it's frustrating how collectively dumb we are as a society. As long as people are content to feed off of propaganda that encourages them to scream bloody murder over Hillary Clinton's handling of emails and how that should be disqualifying for her presidential candidacy, but then show no concern when dozens in Trump's* administration are unable to pass background checks to obtain necessary security clearances, and say nothing while they continue to handle the most sensitive data, we have a problem. For that matter, could Trump* himself pass a background check for a security clearance? I seriously doubt it. Unfortunately, there's no such requirement for a president. And he's destroying our democracy.

As for my generation, we're playing into the hands of those who would wish to see us fail. The Russians don't have our best interests at heart -- clearly, their government doesn't. And with the help of conservative media, we have turned on one another with no real meeting of the minds on the horizon.

Like I said, our country has lost its mind! And it's destroying our democracy.

1 comment:

Steve Claypatch said...

Hi Kevin:

I don't disagree with much you have written. I have faith in our democracy. There a millions who will act with a moral compass aimed at maintaining the integrity of this country.

I am very comfortable with how the right express themselves. I don't agree, but understand the contrasting role. Years ago the FEC relaxed the rules of monopolization of the airwaves. Arguments were as polarized as the media is currently. Those arguments are void now, and the media will only become more tainted in an effort to divide. So, either accept this, or buy a radio/tv station.

What is encouraging is the education this administration is providing the country. No one in their right (not a pun) mind use to watch or listen to this much news. The positive is, most have a better idea of how the United States was designed to operate.

The younger generations are the future, and I see them as grounded in preserving and protecting the foundation of our country.

Eliminating the 2nd amendment will never happen, so blow those boogers out. Reform providing safety, can, and will happen. I am hopeful. See you on the 24th for the protest.

I'll be the emotional baby boomer watching the American Democracy work.