killing politicians
January 9, 2011, 10:25 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: ,

No doubt, partisan media and political voices fan the flame of hatred in America and lead directly to tragic events like this one [the attack on Congresswoman Giffords].  At this point, we should expect them.  However, there are other – are they profounder? – issues than a political and media culture that peddles hate: we are a martial culture. Our ethos is war and security.  Our highest office is a commander; our largest and richest industries sell munitions and war; ostensibly, the most influential people in our society lobby for the security industry; the mandate of our foreign policy is inextricably tied to it.

Recently, I asked a friend why South India seems so genteel compared to the crass north.  Because the priestly Brahmin class moved to the south leaving the warrior castes in the north, was the answer I received.  America is basically a martial society, like north India.  The affects of the belief systems are palpable: harsh, crude, survivalist.

Now the media and politicians are saying we must ‘tone it down.’  This will work in the short term, but will not make significant change.

Laissez faire is our political fall back stance; doing little or nothing the expedient and only course of action.  We stand no better chance of regulating hatred and its deadly affects, than we do toxic markets, because we take a ‘no position’ position. Just tone it down a little folks, thanks!  Put away the guns.  No cheating.  Everyone out of the pool.

To make change we need to fundamentally challenge the martial state.  And to do that, upset laissez faire.  That’s a tall order for a citizenry that has been coached to hate government for 40 years.  Regulate hate, regulate guns, regulate aggressive markets.  Is this so radical considering what’s going down all around us?  And considering how mean our lives have become?  And considering how other modern market economies operate?

Perhaps we need to believe again – and, yes Virginia, Americans have always believed in the people they elect to represent them – that with more real ideas and legislation our lives will be less thuggish:  less violence, less vitriol, more cooperation, more vision, more life.

Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona, Letter to the Editor, New York Times online


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