WONDERFUL, IT A’INT? December 26, 2012Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
The state of mind of the murderer-suicide at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut may never be known. And yet his actions there may in retrospect in realization a profound sense of despair among many about the American project.
The ascent of idiocy and inhumanity has perhaps an underlying cold calculation. Equally, the failure of leadership, which may be intrinsic to the personality of the current president, but it may represent the drift of events, which perceived in isolation obscure process and structure.
In the movie, Its A Wonderful Life, the bumbling Angel, second class, yet to win his wings, saves George, the good guy representing decency. So America might be asking where is Clarence now we need him? Here is a brief summary of the plot by Gabe Johnson for The New York Times:
As it turns out Robert Reich posits: Where are we heading? – Bedford Falls or Pottersvile:
It’s easy to feel discouraged about the bullying by right-wing Republicans and their patrons over everything from gun control to taxes and social safety nets to trade unions and jobs.
Every year about now I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” again to remind myself what Frank Capra understood about America — its essential decency and common sense.
. . .
But we are still in danger of the “Pottersville” Capra saw as the consequence of what happens when Americans fail to join together and forget the meaning of the public good.
. . .
The Mr. Potters are still alive and well in America, threatening our democracy with their money and our common morality with their greed.
Call me naive or sentimental but I still believe the George Baileys will continue to win this contest. They know we’re all in it together, and that if we succumb to the bullying selfishness of the Potters we lose America and relinquish the future.
Maybe,it is too soon to write off the capacity for optimism that seems the necessary to get anything positive accomplished in the United States, and which always seems to rise to challenge, sometimes apparently out of nowhere. Stupidity and greed, are part of common human experience. However, there does seem something more sinister at work, taking shape in the reign of a president, who was previously a professor of constitutional law.
In passing, we might pause to reflect on the utterly barbaric savagery of the drone murders independently authorized by the Chief Executive, carried out beyond the range of compassion in Yemen and elsewhere, and conducted with secrecy and imperial impunity. The Washington Post reports (via War in Context):
A rickety Toyota truck packed with 14 people rumbled down a desert road from the town of Radda, Yemen, which al-Qaeda militants once controlled. Suddenly a missile hurtled from the sky and flipped the vehicle over.
Chaos. Flames. Corpses. Then, a second missile struck.
Within seconds, 11 of the passengers were dead, including a woman and her 7-year-old daughter. A 12-year-old boy also perished that day, and another man later died from his wounds.
The Yemeni government initially said that those killed were al-Qaeda militants and that its Soviet-era jets had carried out the Sept. 2 attack. But tribal leaders and Yemeni officials would later say that it was an American assault and that all the victims were civilians who lived in a village near Radda. U.S. officials last week acknowledged for the first time that it was an American strike.
“Their bodies were burning,” recalled Sultan Ahmed Mohammed, 27, who was riding on the hood of the truck and flew headfirst into a sandy expanse. “How could this happen? None of us were al-Qaeda.”
And then there is the attack on civil and political rights in the home of the brave and the free, sanctioned and directed by both the Chief Executive and the Congress, taking the form of the National Defense Authorization Act which permits the military to hold citizens, strip them of the rights, and detain them indefinitely without regard to the Bill of Rights or Habeas Corpus. Who said we have a republic, if you can keep it. At the present, while the decision will rest with the Supreme Court, that seems a remote possibility.
Chris Hedges concludes with the significance, as he sees it:
The corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution. It wants to have the legal measures to keep us cowed, afraid and under control. It does not, I suspect, trust the police to maintain order. And this is why, contravening two centuries of domestic law, it has seized for itself the authority to place the military on city streets and citizens in military detention centers, where they cannot find redress in the courts. The shredding of our liberties is being done in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. But the NDAA is not about protecting us. It is about protecting the state from us. That is why no one in the executive or legislative branch is going to restore our rights. The new version of the NDAA, like the old ones, provides our masters with the legal shackles to make our resistance impossible. And that is their intention.
As ever the plotters hardly know what they plot. The perpetrator of Sandy Hook knew how to break-in to a school for young children and murder with his mother’s guns. The gun lobby had a contingency plan for the event, and so they too have followed a script. Vice President Biden has now to address the issue on the domestic front, while the war is prosecuted indiscriminately abroad by remote control. The right to possess semi-automatic weapons, for murder-suicides, or the vaulted right of self-defence, will seem trivial when fundamental rights, which seems likely, are discarded. Despite any short term triumph of greed and selfishness, the public good and human decency will be as fantasy while the ecosystem crashes irrevocably.
. . . “Clarence!”.
- Michael Moore: 3 Reasons America Is Falling Apart – And How We Can Save Ourselves (AlterNet)
- Izzeldin Abuelaish, Compassion, Not Anger is the Best Response to Sandy Hook Massacre (Common Dreams)
- David Muhammad, 260 Children Killed in Chicago in Three Years – Where Are the Tears For Them? (AlterNet)
- George Monbiot, For Whom Should We Cry (The Sydney Morning Herald via The Guardian)
- Steven Strauss, Is Our Republic Ending? 8 Striking Parallels Between The Fall of Rome and the US (AlterNet)
- Yemen: 2 militants killed in U.S. airstrike (washingtontimes.com)
- All hail Pottersville! (salon.com)
- Yemen violence kills 5 soldiers, 11 tribesmen (seattletimes.com)