Over in Europe, rightwing xenophobic politicians are copying the GOP playbook.
West African travelers and immigrants to Europe and the US are facing the full brunt of media-sanctioned hysteria, as the ugly stench of racism wafts in the air disguised as “health and safety protocols.”
Much handwringing over the Democratic party’s electoral fortunes has taken place this past week. Teabaggers are ecstatic. The most loathesome wingnuts are going to make our lives even more miserable than we have already endured. Some young people justify young voter apathy by saying Democrats did not give them what they wanted, as shown below in the Carl Gibson piece titled:
And Democratic Party leaders will probably learn the wrong lessons and move further repub-lite.
I think differently about what happened. I believe what we are seeing is the brick wall that Coalition Politics slams into when the regular institutions of Democracy have been irreparably subverted and perverted by oligarchs and their political minions who have convinced many Americans that nihilism is their birthright. What do I mean?
Normally, in a democracy, aspiring politicians and party platforms woo voters with promises of what they will DO for said voters, and the campaigns go full steam ahead in competition. And whoever wins tries to maintain voter approval and possible reelection based on their ability to account to the voter. Otherwise how do you win power again, right?
Wrong. Voters? What voters? GOP-Oligarchs’ answer to electoral imperatives and demographic change, is to shrink the electorate till they could “drown it in a bathtub”!
This past week saw American corporate media at one of its criminally shameful worst. And there is gross competition for how low they can go. Brian Ross of ABC news led the pack in exploiting the grief of James Foley’s family to push utterly offensive nonsense that the White House was derelict in pursuing efforts to rescue James Foley from the grip of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL/IS). At the heart of this spurious attack is the media’s sensational headline that Foley’s mother claims that the Obama administration threatened them with prosecution if they paid ransom money to the militants to secure their son’s release.
Bam! That framing was all that was needed to shift focus away from the heinous actions of the militants, to the virulent and cynically profitable blame-Obama-for-any-and-all-horror-that-happens-in-the-world syndrome in our political zeitgeist. And like clockwork, the rest of the media, politicians, and many commentators were baited and hooked by this media scam, including, I’m sorry to say, the Foley family itself.
I, and many Americans, have had it up to our eyeballs with greedy Military Industrial Complex shills like Dianne Feinstein!! What the hell is wrong with these MIC stooges, regardless of party affiliation? And Dianne Feinstein’s incessant disrespect towards the leader of her own party and President of this country is all the more unforgivable! Did she stop to look in the mirror to examine that her own shortsighted votes in Congress metastasized the deep canker tearing the Middle East apart? Or worse that her greedy actions to shovel taxpayer $$$ to defense contractors like her husband have nasty consequences?
How many Americans does she want DEAD and MAIMED just when President Obama has toiled to clean up the mess of the last blunder of a war under George Bush, that she voted for? It is bad enough that we have war snake oil salesmen McCain, Graham and Mike Rogers preening daily in front of cameras without being held accountable for their dangerous and always inconsistent warmongering statements. They wanted us arming ISIS to the teeth in Syria last year. Now they turn around and Chicken Little about ISIS in Iraq means the Caliphate is at America’s doorstep!! Sheesh!!
How about we get a buy-in from the many factions inside the strained powder keg that is Iraq, especially Sunnis who are vital to any strategy to root out ISIS? They must be assured that their interests are better served in a national coalition with Shia and Kurds AGAINST ISIS precisely because ISIS is claiming to act on their behalf having been shut out of power by Al Maliki’s government. That delicate cultivation of a NATIONAL front against the terrorists is EXACTLY what President Obama is working on in order to neutralize the potential for BLOWBACK that sustained military action against ISIS could generate. But NO!!! Dianne Feinstein finds cheap thrill in playing to the cameras of our moribund media. The conniving media then latches onto her words like they did Hillary’s 3 weeks ago to malign President Obama.
Consider the photographs above of events that happened this year less than six months apart? There is no comparison. That is the point. They all involve American citizens in protest over perceived affront to their rights. But can the people in those photographs be interchanged with the same outcomes? Can the Ferguson MO black residents stage their protest armed like the Bundy-ranch militias or the open-carry ammosexuals flaunting their AR-15s in stores in public? Would they be covered by the media with fawning deference as we saw during the standoff in Nevada or in the narratives spun about open-carry advocates?
Of course no. It is not hyperbole to say the streets there would already have been littered with many more black bodies being gunned down by platoons of SWAT teams pouring in to maintain “law and order.” They would not be retreating like the BLM and law enforcement did outside the Bundy ranch in Nevada in order to safeguard “public peace” and NOT escalating the potential for violence. The media would have whipped up the fear factor to the rafters, not the love-in we saw when the Bundy ranch militias had federal officials locked in their gunsights and bragged they were ready to “water the tree of liberty”.
Likewise, the language of inherent criminality being used now to describe Ferguson’s black residents’ protests would not be invoked in similar actions by white protestors. It is like clockwork, the types of thesauri with stock phrasing that get whipped out to describe public behavior of American citizens depending on their race and class. White Militias are “patriots” defending the “constitution”, not “lawbreakers, or thugs, or looters.” White youths’ public misbehavior and even serious felonies are given benefit of the doubt as “feisty pranks” or aberrant “lone wolves” or “mentally challenged” individuals.
Blacks and Latinos are described as criminals-in-the-making and bearers of regressive group cultural traits who should be “feared” and removed from civilized society. There is an insistence that their citizenship can only rest on approval of their morality, something that is not required of any other groups. The statistics from our criminal justice system glaringly show the disparities in who gets convicted for similar crimes and who gets slapped on the wrist.
Therein lies the dirty underbelly of American creed of “Freedom” and “justice”. It was always a lie, from the nation’s founding. But it was a powerful lie that sewed together a nation populated by peoples of disparate backgrounds ever re-making themselves anew with infinite optimism in this vast land. City on a Hill, it was. Even if built on the blood of shackled slaves. Frederick Douglass described this foundational hypocrisy so astutely in his famous speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Question is why the lie? Other societies don’t bother to broadcast “Freedom” for all. Don’t pretend to want equality for all. For a nation that prided itself on throwing off the yoke of calcified monarchies, and hewing to the creed — “all men are created equal”, why does this country keep insisting on universal “freedom”? I argue that “freedom” is a useful cover that keeps a tight lid on fissures cracking apart a deeply unequal society. It is a release valve in the same way that maintaining an underclass that can be scapegoated for society’s ills. That way we don’t have to deal with crushing class inequality.
And what the wielders of power bet on is that the eruptions be it in Ferguson or Nevada, will inure to their benefit. The Fearful buy more weapons, and disenfranchised minorities get slaughtered in the street, or fill profit-making private prisons!