Head’s up. If you are the type who turns everything into politics and gloms on to human suffering to use it as a political cudgel, you might want to skip past this article because the words herein will sear your cornea. I say this to both sides of the political divide for when it comes to injustice hunting; both Republicans and Democrats have a way of blaring the trumpet and loosening the hounds each time a tragic event takes place. They don’t even wait until the blood of the innocents dries before bipartisan hacks take to microphones to malign the other side.
It’s nauseating actually, watching our “leaders” alternatively using dead bodies as human shields and human spears to score cheap political points. I wish I could say it was only the elites doing this, that this level of depravity was constrained to the mainstream media pundits and DC politicians. Sadly, as the talking heads lead, the rest of society follows. I can semi-understand why the political class reverts to this level of mendacity; after all there is money to be made by stirring the emotions of the mob. Every time some Senator or Congressman takes to the dias, their staffers are counting money in the bank.
My dismay lies in the fact that the rest of us do this. The same crowd who were once mum as a conclave of church mice when gun and bomb violence destroyed Syria and Libya during the reign of Obama are all the sudden outraged when gun violence rings out in Vegas during the circus of Trump. I am sure there are some who passionately care about the blithe of bullets that take one too many lives from the inner cities to rural America. Yet for too many, the issue of guns is nothing but political football to be hiked each time a massacre breaks out only to be punted when the outcry dissipates. On the sidelines is cottage industry for and against gun control sending out emails and soliciting donations each time enough people are killed by guns to make headlines.
I don’t mean to imply that only Democrats do this. Situational morality is as American as apple pie and Apple iPads. Republicans love to make hay of abortion and can’t wait to overturn Roe vs Wade yet turn a blind eye when the issue of a minimum wage increases comes up. Based on the conversations I’ve had with a lot of women over the years on the issue of abortion, a significant number turn to abortions because they feel like they don’t have the resources and means to take care of a child. I say this only to raise a point; if Republicans truly cared about reducing abortions, more could be done to do so if we ensured a living wage instead of coercing women through abortion bans and restrictions.
What I wrote about abortion applies to gun violence and a plethora of social ills that impacts our nation. The prevailing issues of guns and crime can’t be solved by rhetoric and laws. If we really want to make a dent in the iniquities that gnash at society, leaders should use nuance instead of pandering to the crowd. I am this first and foremost at the Corporate State Media, rather than feigning rage and crying crocodile tears on camera, how about refusing to give the names and broadcast the pictures of mass-murderers. The next murderer is created each time the media makes a psychotic killer infamous. I’m not advocating censorship, I’m asking people who have the power of media in their hands to use good judgment instead of hunting for more eyeballs and clicks by way of sensationalism and outrage.Likewise for these bloviating politicians who rush to the camera to demand gun laws or defend gun freedoms, why not spend more time looking at the causes of violence instead of looking at the end result. More could be done to address crimes and murders if local governments were given adequate resources, if we glorify violence less as a society and above all if our government passed policies that cater to the economic interests of the bottom 99% instead of tilting the playing field to the richest 1%. I’ll keep saying this over and over again; economic injustice is the ocean from which most of societal ills flows from. We can do more to stem crime, depression, suicides, abortions, gun violence and a whole host of issues if we tackled the issue from the root instead of hacking at the branches after the fact.
It seems as though the whole of society has turned to the sport of injustice hunting. For every one that cares deeply about an issue, there are a hundred who peck around for the next outrage in order to come up with the best hashtag. Remember Flint? Oh how quickly we forgot thee! Remember Benghazi? That was so 2000 and Barack ago! The level of hypocrisy and piety that has invaded our politics is enough to make Baghdad Bob look like a truth teller. Human suffering reduced to talking points, pains being used as billboards, politics is eradicating our ability to actually be sympathetic to the plight of people let alone be empathetic. Never mind asking “where is the outrage!”, we should be striving to lessen rage and inspect our society with logic and reason instead.
Let me break some news here, the iniquities of the world did not start on January 20th, 2017. Likewise tyranny does not stop when “your president” uses executive orders and rules by fiat as he puts the Constitution and accountability to the shredder. If you let politics instead of of virtue be your moral compass, then we end up being no better than the duplicitous politicians most of us are up in arms about. This is not meant to diminish the outrages of our government and the excesses of those who have power in DC and Wall Street. But we do a great disservice to ourselves when we turn everything into politics. If we can’t muster up the courage to speak to power regardless of who is in the White House, then our concern is not justice but just us.
Let me add this nugget on this issue of gun violence, one that I hope both sides of the political isle think about. Fact: each time a crisis takes place and bloodshed explodes on the news, just know that our government uses these instances to take more and more of our freedoms away. George Bush, with the aide and comfort of Democrats, effectively euthanized the Bill of Rights by way of the “Patriot” Act using 9/11 as a pretext. Where Bush stabbed or freedoms of privacy, Obama mauled it with a machete and Trump is now out baracking Barack in this respect. Fact: we can’t be a nation of guns without limits. So given these two facts, how can we ensure sensible gun restrictions without nullifying our freedoms. We can’t arrive at this answer by resorting to pander, talking points and gutter politics.
What we need desperately are the adults to step up to the stage and for the hacks to quietly go into the night. We are in a time of great turmoil as violence by way of guns and rhetoric is gashing at the seams of our nation. Now is not the time for the same tired politicians and the same useless pundits to bay at the moon and agitate the emotions of partisans. This goes double for the rest of us; the ones who don’t have a dog in this fight but insist on barking nonetheless. Be less like Pavlov’s pet and be more rational thinkers. Instead of going injustice hunting and using human suffering as baseball bats, learn to have civil dialogue with others and stop of trying to conquer each other. After all, you can’t lessen violence by employing rhetorical violence. #InjusticeHunting
“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.” ~ Lucretius
Listen to these words of Robert F. Kennedy as he talked about violence in the most moving and connective ways. Let us reflect on the words of this greatest of speeches from a man who himself was a victim of gun violence. May God heal our nation and this world from the mindless menace of violence.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I talk about the very ways Democrats, Republicans and the establishment pushes social issues on all fronts to keep us perpetually divided and in conflict. Wake up to this.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Who is there for Us? When Suffering and Hopelessness Give Way to Tribalism and Hatred - May 26, 2019
- Judge Not… - May 16, 2019
- Why I No Longer Fight for Justice - May 9, 2019