Inevitable?

This week Representative Steve Scalise was shot in an attack on, of all things, the Republican Party's charity baseball team practice on Wednesday, June 14. Three others were also wounded. The gunman, James Hodgkinson, was died as result of a shootout with Capital Police and a personal security team.

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan made a speech.


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made a speech as well.



Unity, it could certainly be suggested was the theme. "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," was the message to the members of the House of Representatives, and without doubt, as the leading members of one of the most powerful institutions in nation, the message to the people of the United States.

Saturday June 17, 2017, a verdict was rendered in the manslaughter trial of Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer responsible for the shooting and death of Philando Castile. He was acquitted. In the following days, this dashcam footage of the shooting was released. Castille clearly followed orders, and was shot in seconds.



On Sunday June 18, 2017, police were called by Charleena Lyles, a mother of 3, pregnant at the time, because she wanted to report a robbery. They shot and killed Charleena Lyles. 


On Wednesday June 21, 2017 a verdict was rendered in the trial of a Milwaukee officer who shot and killed Sylville Smith. Smith was shot in the back, as he ran from police officers. Bodycam footage confirms this. Not guilty, as has become the expectation.





June 22, 2017, the Senate released their version of the healthcare bill meant to "repeal and replace" the ACA. Following it's release, people began to flood the Senate to let them know how it would effect them, many of them in wheelchairs. Some surviving on the Medicaid the bill guarantees to cut severely. This was the response. 




On Wednesday June 28, Representative Jason Chaffetz proposed that members of Congress should get a $2,500 subsidy because Washington is "one of the most expensive places in the world" and "There are dozens upon dozens of members living in their offices, and I don't know how healthy that is long-term." Also, "I flat-out cannot afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college and a second place here in Washington, DC." I understand that this sounds surreal, considering what the rest of the world is like for those of us not in Congress, and what many of us are living through, and as though it could be something from an article out of The Onion, but CNN picked up the story. As did Time Magazine, and Bloomberg News, an outlet that can be considered many things, but not "liberal" or "left leaning" by any stretch of a sane persons imagination. Members of Congress who do not serve in leadership positions make an official salary of $174,000 per year. It's worth noting that Chaffetz is the chairman of the committee charged with investigation the Flint water crises, and seems to have rushed that investigation to a close as quickly as he could. It seems the people of Flint being without water that isn't going to kill them isn't quite the urgent problem that members of Congress sleeping on couches is. 

If you thought it couldn't get worse, the one of the things that's going to be getting major cuts is Medicaid and Medicare should the current health care bill (I'm just going to call it the Blood Money Bill from now on) pass through Congress. The man who is currently shepherding this attack on the well being of millions of Americans through Congress would be one Mitch McConnell. In case you weren't aware, at two years old, McConnell contracted polio (you know, that horrific disease that used to kill millions until vaccines came along to terrorize us). McConnell didn't necessarily come from the most wealthy of Kentucky backgrounds, so he was fortunate enough to get some help from an organization called The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Yes, before we had vaccines, we actually needed a foundation to deal specifically with this issue. McConnell, obviously made it through his treatment with his ability to walk still intact, though there should be some question about whether or not his cognitive abilities or his ability to have some sense of connection to other living beings was effected because as he has been in the process of attempting to take away the very thing that saved his own life and well being from millions of other people, access to health care, he was also refusing to meet with The March of Dimes who had some misgivings about the plan he's trying to help become law. That might not be so bad, at least it would be regular United States Senator bad, but the thing is, The March of Dimes used to be The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. It seems since he'd been fortunate enough to not become paralyzed by polio, McConnell gives zero fucks about what happens to anyone else who may not have the financial resources to be able to afford needed health care. 

Unity it seems, is not for anyone who doesn't make their living talking shit on Capitol Hill, in The White House or on K Street. The rest of us it certainly seems, are on our own. This shouldn't be all that shocking considering the general state of things from wage stagnation to mass incarceration, and let's not forget that we are still electing people who like to fraternize with avowed white supremacists, like Steve Scalise, who was the subject of all this talk of "unity." 

I will be among the first to agree that this country has a problem with violence. I'll also be among the first to say that my belief is that it generally comes from the idea that males are taught from the youngest of ages that when they encounter basically anything that they don't like or "stands in their way" however they may interpret it, the thing must be dominated and controlled, conquered. The problem with this idea being that it's generally other human beings that are the source of these things. Jeronimo Yanez, Jason Chaffetz, Mitch McConnell and the Orange Julius shit stain in The White House could most certainly join a very long list of human beings I find vile, without qualification. McConnell is currently attempting to insure that people like myself are basically legislated into the 1800's in terms of the availability of medical care. Chaffetz has helped to attempt to insure the people of Flint Michigan don't ever find some kind of justice or recompense by using one of the most powerful institutions in the country to block a real investigation into just how their water become poison. Yanez shot a law abiding citizen whom I don't genuinely believe was probably all that different from me, other than the color of his skin. That difference though, the color of his skin, seems to have been a death sentence in this case. 

This is not to say I'm condoning violence. There are precious few instances where I believe violence is any kind of answer. Nazi's, you punch those people. You frighten them back into their hidy holes and make them afraid to come be Nazi's in public. I don't even support the idea of killing them. I do not believe they have anything like a good faith argument for the well being of the public or the common good, and they will use every single possible opportunity to undermine it. For those who believe you beat them by having better free speech than they have, please take a look around. The sad fact is that a whole lot of America is frightened, and dumb. Yes, that seems elitist. Yes, that seems superior. The fact is that an alarming number of our fellow Americans have decided that it's totally cool, and actually a pretty good thing that we have Nazi's running around our streets, holding rally's, and generally terrifying everyone who isn't a white Christian. This is excellent evidence that there is a whole lot of incurable stupid out there. It's a fact. 

That's about as far as my taste for violence against other human beings goes. Sure, if we had ISIS actually in this country, rallying in the streets, I'd feel pretty much the same way. They're really no different than Nazi's, they just don't have white skin or well designed uniforms. We don't have ISIS marching in our streets or holding rallies, but we do have Nazi's. 

The point I'm trying to get at, in a round about way is that we do have a problem with violence in this country. We also have serious problem with what passes for masculinity in many ways. And we also have a problem with stupid.

We should probably start worrying about what happens when all of these things come together in a conflagration. What happens when the people who are in power routinely abuse that power for their own benefit and threaten or in the case of mass incarceration and police brutality, basically just ignore the well being of everyone else, and some of these manchildren who've been born and bred on a belief that destroying their opposition is the only way they are going to gain any sense of power or control in their lives again? We're messing around with a very potent brew right now. People are economically pressed right now, and have been for a long time, much of it due to stagnating wages in the 30 years before the economy even crashed. Many of them lost what little savings, retirement, nest egg or property they had. They're still trying to recover. What happens when someone who isn't equipped to deal with it on a psychological level spends a few years watching someone they love die of something that would have been utterly preventable? What happens when one of them has a law abiding loved one, who was making their way to an honest and good life, killed in the street by a police officer, after so many others have been killed and been given no justice?

This country is quickly becoming a tinder box. I know there are many out there who enjoy the romantic notion of "revolution." I find the idea of thousands or hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens dying in what will no doubt end up the service of some different blood thirsty, power hungry class of maniacs pretty revolting by itself. Unfortunately, revolutions all too often end up co-opted by people no more humane than those the revolution overthrows, and remember, there are a lot of really dumb people out there who will follow anyone that tells them they can get back what they feel they've lost. We did just elect a pornographic cartoon character to the most powerful office on the face of the planet. 


John Brown, in many circles, has been lifted to a near saint status. I can't lie, I feel a good deal of respect for the mans conviction in his beliefs, and as he was basically the person who started the Civil War, which was the end of slavery, he seems to have met his purpose. I'm also under no illusion that John Brown was not a religious zealot whose actions resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The South, terrified of not being allowed to own humans anymore, was waiting for something like John Brown to happen. Like terrified children, they reacted in the same way men still react today, because we've refused to learn. It was the boogeymen in their own minds that defeated them, more than it was the Army of the North. Had they not lost their collective minds, with whispers of the fake news of their own day, that Lincoln was planning to take away their slaves, the United States would have unfortunately, and absolutely abhorrently continued to tolerate it. A religious zealot, a system of terrified racism, and the money it made, brought unspeakable horror down on the people of The United States. It should have been our penance for the horror of slavery, but we're even too dumb to have gotten the message that treating our fellow human beings like they are anything but has terrible consequences. 

People today aren't just facing boogeymen either. They're facing real and very serious threats to their well being, and they're facing a political, cultural and economic establishment which is incapable of even addressing them in a meaningful way as human beings, much less the problems causing those threats. Steve Scalise is a racist. He's a white supremacist. I won't give him my sympathy, because I have none for him. I also won't attempt to justify the fact that James Hodgkinson attempted to kill him. Hodgkinson didn't choose Scalise specifically. He was just trying to shoot some conservative/Republican politicians, he didn't particularly care which ones it seems. It was inevitable. Completely wrong, and completely inevitable. In the same way that having 20 years of Conservative Hate Radio and Alex Jones like internet gives us the Jared Loughner's and Timothy McVeigh's of the world. The only real difference being that this isn't necessarily going to be someone who is just an extremist or has a history of mental illness. The chances are getting better and better that it's just going to be someone who cracks under the pressure of their increasingly difficult lives, and watching the shit show we've got going on right now, will rightly come to the decision that the people in power are in many ways responsible, that they don't even care about what their doing and that person is going to decide to do something about it. When they do, it will be only in the most fortunate of circumstances that it will be someone who has the character of a Martin Luther King Jr or a Malcom X, a Eugene Debbs. Statistically, the chances are not very good at all.

The question is, can anyone or any group of people or enough people figure out how to stop this train? Can it even be stopped at this point? Do we not think the MAGA crowd isn't under the same pressures, and that maybe for one or some of them, seeing this insane fantasy they've sold themselves shattered and fall to pieces might not result in the same?

It would seem the people with the best resources to avert this insanity are the ones least likely to do so, the wealthy and the powerful. Right now though, they seem to be lost in their own fantasy land that the ride that is the Great American Wealth Gap can continue or even get more intense without consequences. Unfortunately, for us as well as them, history doesn't really support that assumption. We the People seem to be pretty entertained with playing with our own shit, and they don't seem to be at all worried about the historical lessons of inequality. I don't really know who that leaves to come up with something like a sane solution or perspective to correcting the course we're on.

One thing is for sure, it wasn't until the 2008 election cycle that I had the first inclination that we'd be capable of this insanity again, but now, I have the seeping suspicion that not only are we capable of it, but a whole lot of our society is almost hoping for it. I, for one, am not hoping for it. I understand what lengths human beings can go to when put under enough pressure, and then, when the power of the group mentality takes hold. It's not something I hope to ever see, in large part because it will leave none of us untouched and unscathed, and I don't mean by hardship. We have hardship now. Many of us are still largely innocent though, guilty of little other than attempting to go about our lives as best we know how. These things though, these things leave their mark on all of us. The insanity of the Third Reich should be enough to cause us to understand that in the right circumstances, any of us can turn our heads or be quiet accomplices to incredible evil, right down the street, if for nothing else than so we can survive it. 


I've never quite felt this kind of dread, and I'm not someone given to a rosy reading of the world around me. In the years before the economic crash, I was seeing so many people, just like those I'd grown up with, living in a way that very few of the people I knew could have, and even as I had no clue about anything like a debt bubble or a housing market bubble, something about it made me uneasy, the feeling that it couldn't really just last and go on forever. I have a similar feeling now. But it's not about Mcmansions and Mercedes. 



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