In the title of this post I have paraphrased the name of a famous Harlan Ellison science fiction short story, but it is really the evening news that has driven me to this entry.  The following stories were on the news: Israel’s ground campaign into Gaza in which civilians are being killed; the Ukrainian airliner that was shot down as the peripheral damage in a war that was not theirs; the Sunni Muslim faction that is taking on the Shiite Muslim army in Iraq and the innocent New York City man who was choked by the police and died while emergency medics did nothing to help him. This does not mention several other ongoing stories: the continued civil war in Syria, the immigrant children from Central America who are being met with protests and a failed policy on immigration, the growing inequality in the United States and the world, the suddenly surging murder death rate in Chicago and many other ongoing stories.  All of these amongst the media stories on frivolous things that are supposed to make us feel better and a political system in which no one, no party and no individual seems to have an understanding of what causes those things or how to cure them. They do have a self-serving obsession with pandering to their uninformed constituencies and the cowardice to avoid doing anything while the world falls apart around them.

Let me be clear although some of these are disputes between Jews and Muslims, Sunni’s vs. Shiites etc. they are not religious disputes.  They are not about religious doctrines nor are others about ethnic hatreds and race. Yes, sides may be chosen up according to these criteria, but the disputes themselves are not about religion doctrines, nor ethnic differences nor even really about race. They are about human rights, money and political power that are distributed differently. One may distribute those rights on the basis of religion, ethnicity or race, but if the rights were distributed justly the disputes would not be so violent nor probably even occur. There are ideologies or beliefs based upon religion, ethnicity and race that are used to prop up whatever unequal distribution of rights, money and political power are in play in a given region. Unless the inequities are reduced to a level acceptable to all the principals in these disputes there will ultimately be no justice, no peace.

The other thing that angers me is a political debate that does not acknowledge the United States’ participation in these inequities.  For example there would be no influx of immigrant children from Central America if the United States had not for so long propped up dictators and powerful money grabbing political office holders who have created and sustained the poverty that grips the area. The armed support that we have given and continue to give to Israel, Syria’s Assad, the Iraqi Shiites, the Afghanis will never occur to the foreign policy hawks like John McCain to be causes of the unrest not its cure. The unfettering of corporate power that we have seen the Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidencies of both Republicans and Democrats alike, all support; the increase in state surveillance that the Patriot Act unleashed; and the growing concern about ourselves and not others, has increased the obsession with “getting mine” and the fear that granting to others somehow lessens us. The protestors in California who blocked a bus full of immigrant children, who were not even going to settle in their communities, are a shame and a disgrace.  Even if all of the Central American immigrant children were incorporated into the United States it would not decrease the protestors’ share of the American pie one iota. The protestors have just been convinced by politicians and conservative talk radio (commentators like Rush who are most interested in ratings) that their very existence is at stake.

Nowhere are any of these issues discussed in the mainstream media. The media that the conservatives decry as “liberal’ are so right wing that one must go to the niche radical media like al-Jahzeera for example to get any take on this at all.  I recently encountered the preface to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables which reads:

So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century– the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light– are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world;–in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use.

And I will have to continue to scream.

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