Is there something in the water (or school books) in the United States that makes a high percentage of people slightly or fully sociopathic? The mainstream media (and therefore the majority of US news watchers) has not paid much attention to Afghanistan in years, Iraq is slowly getting less and less coverage as the quagmire drags on, and all the corruption in the administration seems to bore people. The topic of the past few months is Iran and how we are going to bomb them into submission. Glenn Greenwald did a nice job of collecting a few video clips of just how insane the mainstream USian is; first up there was Fred Thompson – the quickly fading presidential “candidate” – at the most recent Republican debate being asked about the latest incident with the speed boats. His response of “I think one more step and they would have been introduced to those virgins that they’re looking forward to seeing” was not quite as scary as the thunderous response he got from the crowd. The clip that scared me the most was Cafferty on CNN reading the responses to Tom Tancredo’s suggestion to bomb Mecca and other holy Islamic sights to deter Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The fact that Tancredo made such suggestions does not surprise me too much (living in Colorado for the past few years, I see Tancredo as a racist grandfather who says off the wall things so people pay attention to him), it’s the email responses that brought tears to my eyes. I expect a couple crazies mixed in with the rational people here and there, but more than half the responses read were people either in agreement with Tancredo or people suggesting that we go even farther. This could be because CNN is trying to make us believe that this is the way the majority of people think, but it still scares me. One person said that the atomic bomb worked in Japan, so why not Iran? Another person said that if we “grab them by their Mecca and Medina, their hearts and minds will follow.” Not one person – not even the ones who called Tancredo crazy or wrong – suggested anything along the lines of building hospitals and schools or not bombing their friends and neighbors as ways to not make enemies in the first place. When will even half the population understand that just because someone has different color skin or speaks a different language does not mean that their lives are worth any less than someone from the US?
Despite being taught in school that the United States has never been wrong and being preached at in church that we are better than them (whoever “they” may be), when it comes down to actually killing another human being, most people have problems with it; even in war. Even after months of brainwashing that come after joining the military and before being sent over to whatever foreign country the government decides we need to go to war with, to kill whatever strange looking and sounding people the government wants killed, a normal human being still has a conscience; which is why the amount of homeless veterans is sickening and the amount of veteran suicides is steadily on the rise. Have no fear though; our trustful military industrial complex is on the job. Joining the contracting and oil companies making boatloads of money off of foreign blood is now the drug companies. It seems a new drug has been created to help numb the natural feelings a human being has after taking the life of another human being; it – in essence – helps put a blindfold and gag on the soul as the memory of the event becomes blurry and the senses are dulled. Chris Floyd does an excellent job of explaining (much better than I can) the evolution of the government turning people into warriors; how they have gotten better and better at it throughout the generations and wars. What kind of society are we when we can put a price on lives? How many more people have to die or be permanently injured (either physically or mentally) for the financial gain of the elite before we start doing something about it? What has to happen before we are enlightened to the fact that a child in Iran breathes the same air, has the same thoughts, and is made up of the same organs as a child in the United States? Our government – the people we elect and blindly support – is turning living, breathing, thoughtful human beings into machines whose sole job is to fly to other lands and kill other living, breathing, thinking human beings; and we sit in our comfortable homes occasionally feeling a twinge of guilt, but for the most part dismissing anything that isn’t happening on our own front porch as out of our control.
People are taking to the streets more and more often and this is hopefully encouraging people who normally wouldn’t take part it protests to do so. Yesterday in Vermont, during the governor’s state of the state speech, a few people joined him on stage with signs protesting the war. People are starting to realize that just because someone is a Democrat or claims to be against the war does not mean that he or she is innocent. If a person in power is not using that power to do everything they can to end this illegal occupation, then they too are – and should be – a target. There were also protests across the country, demanding the close of Guantanamo Bay on its four-year anniversary. The Supreme Court was actually shut down for a number of hours after some people were arrested for staging a protest both outside and inside the building. Things like this should be going on every day, not just on anniversaries or when things are fresh. It is our duty to stand up and demand change when we are not being represented by the people whose job it is to represent us.
In Kenya, things continue on their downward spiral as democracy takes a backseat to corruption and violence. Raila Odinga – the opposition leader – seems to be going about things the right way; he is demanding a new vote while organizing mass protests to take place next week in a number of cities. However, the government of Mwai Kibaki is saying that the protests will not be allowed to happen out of fear that violence might occur. This could be big for Odinga if he plays his cards right; despite what Kibaki says, the Orange Democratic Movement has the right to nonviolently protest what it feels is a corrupt government that was re-elected unfairly. If Odinga goes ahead with the protest and demands that his followers not take part in any violence – not even if violence is visited upon them – it will force the hand of Kibaki. Kibaki will either react with violence, which will show the world that he truly is corrupt and put pressure on surrounding countries (whose supplies from Kenya are already being severely affected) to do something, or he will see his power slowly slip from him. Things are getting worse by the day for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced by all this violence; it has been reported that almost one in three Kenyan children under the age of five suffered from malnutrition before the crisis began; a number that is expect to climb as families continue to live without clean water or food.
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